Archive for the ‘General’ Category

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Portrait of Gennifer in Casein

November 22, 2017

I saved this material that was wrapped around a computer monitor I bought some time ago, and it’s a curious type of fabric. It feels like Tyvek, which is a brand of fabric from Dupont made of spun polyethylene fibers, but this tears more easily than sheets of that I seen before. Anyway, I wanted to experiment with it for a new painting.

The feel of this reminds me of felt. If it’s wadded up it will show creases, which made me want to use that as a textured surface, so I cut a section about 12″ square, wadded it up into a ball, and glued it to a thin sheet of wood veneer.

Here I’m starting to tone the fabric with a thin wash of burnt umber casein that I made. It takes the paint very well, like staining raw muslin.

This is the final result. It’s based on a photo of mine of my friend, Gennifer. I’ve added titanium white for the highlight areas. It was a very interesting surface to paint on. I need to hunt down some Tyvek now, and see if it behaves the same way.

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New Idea for Mounting Drafting Film (Mylar)

November 6, 2017

An old post of mine regarding the use of drafting film as an art surface remains one of my most popular posts with ongoing discussions today. The main concern is how to properly adhere this surface to a firm support for display purposes. All glues I’ve tried are no better than adequate, allowing the film to be easily pulled away from any type of firm backing. As a result, this surface is not my favorite to work with, but one I continue to explore ideas to improve this problem. One such idea is to not use glue at all, but instead use physical force to sandwich the film between two supports.

I got this idea by looking at clear packaging supplies online. You can buy gift boxes of various sizes made usually with PET plastic, but some are also made with polypropylene (“PP”) which is the same material Borden & Riley’s “Denril” film is made from.

To start exploring this idea, I took a large sheet of Grafix “Wet Media” film, and fit it to a 9 x 12″ piece of foamcore that is 1/4″ thick. In order to get the sheet to lay flat to the foamcore, I scored the film with a metal ruler to get a sharp bend.

Using cellophane tape to hold the film in place, I glued another sheet of foamcore to the back to press and hold the film.

The reason I didn’t fold over all four sides is that would require cutting the film corners, like stretching a canvas, and that makes the film easy to tear. You certainly could do that, carefully. In fact, that’s how the gift boxes are made, but it’s not necessary here if this panel is displayed in a frame where the sides won’t be seen. If you were to do a sort of “gallery wrapped” display, then you’d want to cut the corners to fold over all four sides. In that case, I’d recommend protecting the corners somehow.

This particular film is glossy, and since the whole surface is not glued flat, it has a slight waviness that can be distracting. That would not be noticeable if you were using frosted film.

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Appreciating Artist Jon Whitcomb

October 9, 2017

Recently I’ve been browsing through online archives of illustration art, and particularly spending time on one of the greats, Jon Whitcomb. Here are a few gems of his that I’ve picked out. Most of the paintings he made in his career were done with the gouache medium, and he was a master.


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Making Casein Paint: Titanium White

July 21, 2017

I’ve been wanting to get back to using one of my favorite paint mediums for awhile, casein. I took an inventory of the tubes I had available for my next project, and noticed I was short or low on a few colors, particularly titanium white, so it’s time to make some more.

I have a bathroom next to my studio space that I use exclusively for this type of work, so I clean off an area by the sink, and set up my tools and supplies. I have a large sheet of textured glass that I use for mixing the paint. There’s a mortar and pestle for smoothing the dry pigment, an empty tube for the paint, a squirt bottle of distilled water, about 4 ounces of casein binder, and white pigment.

The pigment is a little lumpy, so I use the pestle to break it down some, and place about 2.5 tablespoons of pigment on the glass with about 2 teaspoons of binder and just enough water to get the consistency of paint I want, and spend a few minutes with the spatula smoothing it out.

I test the paint I’ve mixed to see if it spreads easily with a brush without having to add any water, and check the opacity on this sheet of colored paper. It looks fine, so I repeat these steps about 2 more times to make more paint to fill the tube.

There’s enough paint now to fill up this 50ml tube and another 22ml. I seal the ends by squeezing it shut at about 1/2 inch below the end. to give me enough room to crimp.

I fold over a little of the end, and crimp it tight with some pliers, and repeat this about 2 more times to get a tight seal.

Here I have two tubes of white casein labeled and ready to use.

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My Artwork at P’s Gallery, Longview, TX

July 12, 2017

I will have several of my drawings and paintings on display at P’s Gallery in Longview, TX. The opening event is tomorrow night from 5-7PM, and my work will be there until the end of this month. The gallery is located at 5576 Judson Road with their regular hours 11AM-5PM. Please drop by if you will be in the East Texas area. Tell Paula that David sent you.

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Replacing a Picture Frame Backing

June 19, 2017

It’s a easy thing, I suppose, to not give much consideration to the back of a picture frame. After all, it will be against the wall where no one will notice. However, your customer is buying the whole object, so it’s important to give proper attention to the all of it.

This painting, “Party at the Lake,” is casein on illustration board, floating on a sheet of mat board. Behind that is a sheet of cardboard. Originally, it had paper taped to the back by a professional framer I had hired for the job. It was acceptable at the time, but unfortunately the deep sides (2″) made it too easy for the paper to get poked and torn, so it needed to be replaced. I tore off all the old paper, and considered using mat board, but there wasn’t enough wood along the edge to hold it down with just tape, and glue would make it harder to replace later, should someone need to do that. Therefore, I decided to fill the whole back with a more stable support of foamcore.

I built a crossing grid out of strips of foamcore that were about 1/8″ shorter than the frame, so a sheet of foamcore would sit flush with the wood. I cut slots in the strips halfway through so they would assemble even with each other. I then glued a sheet of foamcore to this grid. The back is now nice and solid, but lightweight. The last step will be to paint the exposed wood black, and restring the wire.

By the way, I’m dusting off a few older pieces of art along with some new ones for a large show I’ll be having next month, paintings and drawings. Details to come.

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Sinopia Casein Gesso Update: Jar Problem

May 2, 2017

I’m interrupting my series of posts on the new painting to point out a problem I discovered today with a jar of Casein Gesso from Sinopia. This follows up on two posts I made in the past: one is a review of this product, and another was how I store paint containers like this upside down.

I bought this jar of gesso a little over a year ago, and keep it inside a drawer in my studio. I haven’t used it in awhile, but today I decided to open the drawer to try it out again, only to find the contents had leaked out. The lid was screwed on tight, but that wasn’t enough to stop air from getting in, and some of the contents leaking onto the drawer. Fortunately that was plastic, so it was easy to clean (that’s what that clean piece of gel is in the picture,) but I had to use a plumber’s wrench to get the lid off, and found that about 1/3 of the paint had dried out. That rounded disk inside the lid is about 1/2 inch layer of dried paint, and more dried on the sides of the jar. It had been stored upside-down.

As I mentioned in the article link above, I store containers like this upside down just for this reason. Screw-on lids of this type make very poor containers for paint, since air gets in easily. Even if this was stored upright, air gets in, and would have dried out the paint even worse. Some jars you can buy come with cushions inside the lid, sponges or thick paper, that help seal the jar. Another solution I’ve used in the past is to wrap wide tape around the outside. That has to be replaced frequently, but it’s better than throwing away paint.

Metal cans for paint make a better seal than a screw-on lid, unfortunately, a quart size can is the smallest available. Tubes are also better since the opening is smaller, so less air gets in. The best option is to use it up quickly. Prime several sheets of paper stock or canvas that you have on hand, and don’t store the left over paint for very long.