Cleaning up

Posted on Sep 6, 2009 in Methods

Cleaning up

Here’s today’s painting, to be continued in the studio. I hate cleaning brushes, and today I found a new way to clean them that was really cheap and quick. I bought a bar of Fels Naphtha soap — the kind my mother used to rub on my father’s shirt collars before laundering them — and tried it on the brushes, which had simply been wiped with a rag. The paint came out easily, and the bristles were clean and soft when dry. It will be interesting to see what kind of long-term effect it has on the brushes, but so far it’s encouraging.

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Outdoor painting #3 – more gizmos

Posted on Aug 20, 2009 in Methods

This isn’t an outdoor painting gizmo per se, but it is definitely one of the most money-saving devices I’ve used – a tube wringer. Gets those last bits out of that expensive tube of cobalt blue very well. They can be purchased from numerous art supply companies and also at tubewringer.com. Opt for the heavy duty one – works best on those fat tubes of white paint. Here’s the outdoor painting part: when your tube is half empty, reserve it for your outdoor painting kit. Full tubes of most paints are rarely needed, unless you paint like Van Gogh, and you’ll carry less weight.

For small plastic containers for transporting solvents, try urine specimen containers. I discovered a barrel of these at a surplus place labeled: “Urine Specimen Jars – 6 / $1.00 – Never Been Used”. Check out the fit of the lid if possible; hopefully they are leakproof for all purposes.

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Outdoor painting #2 – easels

Posted on Aug 12, 2009 in Methods

Since I teach workshops, I am asked for easel recommendations. There is never an easy answer. Do you like to stand or sit while painting? How much can you carry comfortably? Would it be uncomfortable for you to bend frequently while painting? For me, the best solution to date has been the classic Jullian half-box French easel, because: 1.) it’s stable; 2.) I like the drawer at waist height; 3.) the hardware is good (no wing nuts that fly off or latches that pop springs, as in some other brands), and 4.) it allows me to carry a few panels/canvases on the front with ease. I put most of the weight (paint tubes, brushes) into my backpack, and added a better shoulder strap. The recent Jullians have given up the metal drawer in favor of a wooden one — not an improvement in my book. Other options of interest are the aluminum Soltek (expensive), the Anderson with a nifty swivel so you can turn your painting out of the sun, and for lightweight, the Winsor & Newton Bristol. All have their pros and cons. If anyone has discovered The Perfect Easel out there, let me know!

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Outdoor painting tips

Posted on Aug 8, 2009 in Methods

Outdoor painting tips
I’ve always been a little confused by the mystique attached to painting outdoors. If you paint nature from observation, of course you have to go outside to do it, unless you have a very good window, but is it more romantic if we do it in French (en plein air)?
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Why blog?

Posted on Aug 5, 2009 in General

I hope to share with you some of the useful information I’ve gathered over thirty+ years of painting, as well as links of interest, and any profound thoughts — if I have any.
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