Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Library Still Life: The Rematch

Posted by: Kate

Hey, remember this?  It's that painting I abandoned!  I distinctly remember thinking that running a blog would be good for me because the dread of failing publicly would force me to do good work...and then the first painting I charted on here completely defeated me, and left me sitting on my studio floor sobbing great big snot bubbles the day before we had to vacate our Toronto studio to move across country.  Well, flash forward to now, and I am one year older, and wiser, and stronger.  This painting is no match for me now.  I also have a new arsenal of weapons, courtesy of Natural Pigments.

After oiling out with Oleogel (which creates a nice workable surface that is not too slick and sloppy the way linseed oil can be), I brushed on some transparent shadows using my standby Ultramarine and Red Oxide mixture, cut with some Wilson's Medium for added transparency and smoothness.  This is my first time using this medium and I have to say that I found it very distracting every time Tom Hanks yelled "Wilson!" in my head, which was pretty much every time I glanced at the tube.  Otherwise, the medium worked very well.  It seemed to solidify a bit as the hours went by, yet it didn't develop a nasty tackiness as it did so.  It also remained workable on the paint surface, so I found it easy to go back to areas that I hadn't touched for an hour, and the fresher paint blended in with the older paint just fine.  This is a big plus.  After some noodling around, trying to figure out what my game plan was, I settled on a plan and wiped everything down, applied some fresh Oleogel, and started over.

And here is my painting the way I intended it to be.  I admit that there was a moment where I lost courage and I had to break out the big guns and use a Rosemary Mongoose Flat to get that softness in the shadows.  But, of course, a painting that I agonized over for over a year took only about an hour and a half to finish.

I should probably go back and put some writing on that big blank page.  Ya think?


  1. I am truly inspired by your paintings! one question, I assume you are talking about glazing. I have not used glazing in the past. Are you saying that you put over the entire painting the ult blue and red oxide + wilson! over the whole painting or just one area? The end result is incredible!

    1. Sorry Julia, I wasn't very clear, was I? I oiled out the entire painting with Oleogel to counteract sinking in and so that I would have a slightly greased surface to work on. Makes it much easier to paint over top of, especially if working in thin paint layers. Next, I whipped up a mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Transparent Red Oxide (this mixture creates a dark, transparent brown that you can adjust to be either redder or bluer) for the shadow pattern. Using a knife I mixed some Wilson's medium directly into the paint mixture on my palette. Premixing your medium into the paint mixture before you use it is better than having a medium cup that you dip your brush into as you work, since the latter method doesn't ensure a consistent incorporation of medium. Premixing it also allows you to make the decision of how much medium you will be adding, so that you can make sure in subsequent layers to add even more medium (painting fat over lean). Then I glazed this paint mixture wherever I wanted the shadows to be. I don't normally glaze, but this painting called for it. Could you imagine painting those stripes on the far wall and the shadows crisscrossing them all in one go? I painted the stripes first, let them dry, and then glazed the shadows over top.

    2. Great work. Even your defeats are good... But not as good as the final, which is superb.

  2. Seriously beautiful, Kate. I love the way you finished the painting with that reworked shadow of the windowpane across it. It is both beautiful & moody--like a young Hollywood actress. ;) Bravo & congrats!

  3. What a great painting! I love the pages and the shadows. Bravo!

    Amazing what year can do. Glad you did not give up. : )

  4. THANKS so much for the detailed reply! Really great point about premixing the medium! I love the shadow pattern. It REALLY makes the painting. Gorgeous!

  5. Kate I wish I painted this painting! I hate that feeling.


  6. Love love love. And I'm glad to "hear" (read, rather) that someone else started a blog in hopes that it will make her finish things. haha! Thank you. In addition to the great information, you provided me with some hope and inspiration for the day.