A bit About Sketches

Just a  bit about Sketches, or in my little world Thumbnails,  since I’m not so inclined to sketching, doodling or scribbling. Not to say a sketch is a finished piece of work, since they can be, it’s just that because of my Design background and education, I do thumbnails…

Sketch development follows from the thumbnails, but that’s not part of this post…

In school, I was taught that when faced with a job, ie a work that needs to be given birth to and developed to finishing, thumbnails are where you start. In the Commercial Art industry, this is an absolute necessity. Come up with a number of undeveloped, or partially developed, ideas, present them to the powers that be – one is chosen and you work from there. The rest are for the round file, or the slush pit for future  and potential use.

The result? Only one idea out of a half-dozen come to completion.

My practice in these days shows a much different ratio. Normally it begins near the end of a painting cycle. Finishing up a group of paintings, I put in an order for more canvasses – maybe 9 or a dozen. Then I break out the paper – scraps they are, maybe 4X6 inches. I start drawing, and the ideas flow until a couple of hours have passed and I have what I need and want with maybe 1 or two extra.

This is where things are different for me now. Instead of 1 drawing/sketch/thumbnail out of six being usuable – all of them are! This is the nature of painting spec pieces. I choose the image I want to paint and paint it the way I want. So, let’s say a dozen canvasses and a dozen sketches – all good to go with nothing for the trash!

As an aside – commission work is a different beast which I’ll do another post on another time, but for now, I’m talking about free-painting.

The down side? Yes, there is a bit of one – sometimes a finished painting is not what I had hope it would be, and it gets stuck in the corner of my studio, only glanced at on occasion as a lesson of some sort. One might say that this one failure to meet my own standards could have been avoided if I wasn’t so indiscrete, or cavalier, with my intentions. One could say I could have saved a lot of time, effort and materiels if I had been more deliberate, but this one failure out of twelve that will never been seen by the public isn’t so bad considering my pleasure with the other eleven paintings.

A Fine Finish

A Fine Finish

Finishing is a dangerous subject and an even more dangerous activity depending on your medium and your chosen chemical for the finish itself, and how you think you’ll apply this potential finish, but, there are consideration that must be faced before you apply a finish.

Your subject, or finished painting in this case, is something that you put A LOT of work into to get it where you want it to be, so why, WHY would you risk destroying this painting, without any concern, by putting the wrong substance or chemical on your creation, and why would you pick the wrong technique to apply this substance.

All things being relative, some mediums are more hardy to bad application or incompatability, at least for a bit of time. You might think you’ve got it good, but as a few months pass, your beautiful painting has gone yellow, or glazed, or even veined with such serious cracking that you think you’re looking through a shattered window. This is not good!

Certain research, plans, testing and so on HAVE to be done. Proper materiels can be purchased but must still be tested, and yes, this is painstaking and not for the impatient of week of heart. Some substances, especially brush on, can be very aggressive, for example, to penwork and pigments such as guach and liquid acrylics. Brushing a varnish in this case can pull your pigments right off the canvass even if this varnish is compatible. Test for this!

I, personnally prefer a brush-on varnish, but in these cases, I will always use a spray on isolation coat as a protective finish so I can brush varnish to my heart’s content. My usual pattern is this – one fine but sufficient sealer coat of spray and two coats high-gloss brush-on. The thicker the finish, the greater risk of problems appearing later…

Here is more information about the all-important “isolation coat. I usually don’t endorse any particular line of product or even stick to using one brand of anything, even if I do have my favorites, but with a finish – the Golden products are the only product to be considered.

Please read this article!


An American Artist Living in France

When I was a budding graphic design prodigy fresh out of art school, I could have only, for the least of a most part, dreamt of using French art supplies, or anything European. Now, those materials are an extremely large part of what I use. Go figure!

Today, I walk into my lab (what most would call a studio), and what do I see? French and German paints, French canvasses and papers and french-made giclee prints, German color sticks and inks and sprays, English papers and paint brushes, etc, etc, etc…

Shit, I’m in heaven!

Now all I need to do is go walk the marbled floors of the Louvre.

Imagine that!


Post Video

Picture this…

You’re sitting in a cafe in France with your 5th espresso in your hand and feelin’ warm and cozy inside due to a little dose of rum or somesuchthing a bit earlier. A funky little, but very talented, jazz band plays across the room while Frenchies mingle and kisses are countless. The walls are covered with great art by people who maybe shouldn’t have, but were glad to quit their day jobs and have done pretty well. A painting catches your eye and you walk up to it to peruse the detail…

Here’s what you see and hear (sorry, I can’t provide the taste of a French espresso or a dose of that somesuchthing – you’ll

just have to imagine that one). I call this painting “Franklin’s Barrel.”

It starts a bit fuzzy – I’m new at this video thing, but have been inspired by my friend Joshua Ben Paskowitz with his tech-savvy lifestyle – thanks Joshua!

Study can be Fun!


 Photo color charts

When we need to know something, sometimes the best solution is to study. This is what I did today.

Color study charts, many unconventional mixes, but a great way to find out where colors come from. I’ve found a few new recipes!