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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Waiting At The Gate, Week Three; A Venetian Method Painting in Progress

 In progress using values mixed from Burnt Umbra and Titanium White.

After finishing the HB pencial cartoon using a grid, I went over the lines with fluid Burnt Umbra.
The medium I use is a fifty fifty mix of linseed oil and odorless mineral spirits. The brush I use is a very
carefully cared for pointer.

Then using a rag, I toned the whole canvas  over with a mix of  Burnt Umbra and the linseed oil/MS paint medium. 

Detail of the underpainting in progress.  I never noticed this gal had a hat on till
I was painting her.

Here's where I let life step between me and the easel. Before I got involved .with values, I had  household tasks  that hadn't been done since before my knee surgery-- in addition to  bedding down the garden for winter and making my repertoire of hearty soups to freeze for fast dinners when painting is more important than cooking.  While the time consuming women waited, I  tended my house and warmed up with drawings-- and spontaneously fooling around with watercolor just because I found some small pieces of 300 lb WC paper in a cupboard I was reorganizing.

Self portrait after an afternoon of polishing my mom's silver, a gift or a curse?

An unbelievable presidential  candidate roughed up with my 314 General pencil.

Center Entrance Foyer, 314 General pencil on 300 lb watercolor paper. Don't ask why.

Center Entrance Foyer, watercolor on 300 lb WC paper. The paper ate the colors upon drying and I learned something.

.But the composition was strong so I decided to see if the little free hand wet into wet could be saved.

.Center Entrance Foyer WC   sprayed with matte  varnish then enhanced with opaque watercolors.  An
unorthodox procedure with watercolor, but it worked.  The paper didn't  soak  the life out of the colors and
the surface of the paper remained as it was before I varnished lightly over it. 

While drawing is my lifelong strong point and the  Venetian oil painting method has been of great interest over the last two years, watercolor is the medium I have always loved to play around with with no expectations for great achievement.  Again, they will accompany me to Mexico over the holidays--but I'll leave the 300 lb. paper at home. 


  1. The watercolour turned into a little gem, glowing, gorgeous colour! Love it! And waiting at the Gate progresses as expected. All good!

  2. It's the glazes that I'm worried about. I know nothing about glazing on oil colors. Some research will be necessary and probably a lot of experimentation. But it's a long winter. Thanks about the watercolor. That 300 lb. paper really soaks up the vibrancy, but the finish is so lovely I had to try it out. Would be good for pastels I think; the finish has just the right amount of grab. When I saw how much of the vibrancy had faded, I figured what the and I sprayed the surface with the matte varnish. It didn't deepen the faded colors, but did seal the porosity without changing the look or the feel of the surface. Then I enhanced the color using only opaque WC where I wanted the color brought up. Fun afternoon though true watercolorists would probably lambast my use of varnish. I liked the composition enough to try to save it.

  3. Life is getting in my way too. Not that I don't enjoy the diversions, but I have so many projects on hold, and tend to lose the flow on them.

    Nice to see progress on Waiting for the Gate, and I enjoyed your drawings. I've not tried watercolours yet, and I'm still coming to terms with oils.

    Have you ever tried drawing with charcoal left soaking overnight in Linseed oil? I just watched a video on it by Winsor & Newton ... not sure if I got the point of it.

    Good to see you getting back up to speed ... we all missed your paintings; but don't overdo it!!

    1. It has a way of doing that, but sometimes those interruptions pay off later with a clearer idea of what is next on a project. With "Gate" I had to decide how detailed I wanted this painting to be in the background--what to omit, how much of the information to fade out? While I love the pattern in the woman's skirt on the right of the picture, maybe that should be toned down to play up the ladies expressions, which are the focal points. The more I do, the better I feel. Expending energy, creates energy I am guessing? What I can't get over is what a difference three years older makes in recovering. Had I known, I would have had the second knee done right after the first knee--or not.

      I have never soaked my charcoal in linseed oil--never ever thought about it. But I would give it a try. I am always curious to see what will happen if I do this, example being my little Impromptu watercolor on the good WC paper I found in the kitchen cupboard where I keep the cookbooks.

      I am sticking with oils. I went back to them five years ago and still don't know enough about using them. Now that I have discovered I admire traditional practices, realistic figurative painting, a discovery that took a lot of fooling around, I am going to spend my last chapter getting as skilled at it as possible. Watercolor is not my personality. It's light and airy and on paper. I love the quiet sheen of oils, the rich texture of the paint, the canvas, the controlled paint process and the slow, deliberate pace the fifteenth century masters favored. The old way balances the fast pace of our lives. Then I like to loosen up and clear my head with my pencils, or charcoal or playing in the watercolors. The organization of transparent color layers comes after this underpainting. I know nothing about glazing, but as I said, it's a long winter.

    2. There's that old saying, "If you don't use it, you lose it" which compliments your energy generating energy (carrot & stick?).

      I've just bought a bottle of Blending & Glazing Medium from Wisor & Newton. Glazing mediums on acrylics worked OK for me, so I'll try this one for oils and report back.

  4. Love what you did with "Waiting at the Gate"! The technique and color makes for a striking presentation... reminds me of some Rembrandts! Strong charcoal sketches. Well captured...

    1. Hi there! I haven't heard from you in a while. I hope all is well and it was just me not being as active as I once was on blogger.

      Thank you. Rembrandt not so much, but definitely a great role model. Knowing only the basics of oil painting, I am interested in the methods of the masters, so I am trying it out and finding I am enjoying the process. It's heavily dependent on drawing skills, and drawing is my strongest point--particularly figurative drawing. I am thrilled I finally found a comfortable niche. It only took five years of searching.

  5. These paintings are all so amazing Linda! So much feeling through their expressions! Your self portrait is wonderful... Polishing silver would give me the same look .lol. It's nice to see all the paintings together! Lots of movement...

    1. The most amazing thing about any piece in this post is that it got done! But thank you. I am so far behind on household chores, drawing and painting has been pushed to the end of the day when most of my energy has been spent. That's why the slow Venetian method is perfect right now; it's thoughtful and not intuitive as is the gestural method, which is hard to pull away once started. Perfect way to come back to painting after such a long hiatus.

  6. Some great stuff going on here. back to more active mark making, I see. You can do everything and in all styles.
    I really enjoyed catching up after being gone from the blogging world for a while. You are really such an fine and experienced artist.