Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shipping Paintings

Daisy Days
30x30

My floral work has been accepted into The Artym Gallery in Invermere, BC and I'm very pleased. It's a gallery that I've watched online for years and will be honoured to be a part of. But this inclusion has raised the issue of shipping paintings; something that I've only done a few times in the past, and never with a bunch of paintings at once. I've now spent hours researching how to pack my work so that it arrives without swayed and dented canvases.

The options seem to be cardboard or wood. I'm not patient enough for the drilling and sawing of building a wooden crate, so I decided to go with the cardboard option: this option by Susan Blackwood at Oil Painters of America. Of all of the sites, and Youtube videos that I looked at, this one seems the most elegant, simple way to secure paintings for shipping. I'm off to buy the styrofoam today.

Before I put the paintings in their box, I'll cover the painted side with tracing paper or wax paper to ensure that they don't pick up any bits. Some people use bubble wrap across the front of a painting, but I was at a gallery when a shipment of paintings came in from another city, and I saw what bubble wrap can do. There were little dots permanently imprinted over the entire surface of several large oil paintings. It was an artist's nightmare.

Wish me luck with getting the pieces safely to their destination.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Oil Primer Instead of Acrylic Gesso


In the Woods
20 x 16

This week has brought a revelation! Those are always good.

I've been flirting with the idea of painting on linen lately, but the price has put me off every time I research it. So I did the next best thing and bought some oil primer to apply over my usual cotton canvases. The canvases have to be gessoed first to stop the oil primer from destroying the fibers.   I know: I should be using rabbit skin glue instead of gesso, but I'm not there yet.  Talk to me in 6 months and I'll likely be using bunnies.

I spread the thick, heavy stuff on and then I twiddled my thumbs for a week while the canvases cured. Finally, I began to paint. It was amazing!

The experience is nothing like using a commercial canvas. The paint keeps its separate strokes more easily instead of melding marks together as happens on gesso, and the paint sets up much more quickly than I am used to. Using just oil as a medium, the paint was almost dry the next day. That's at least a day or two sooner than on gesso.

But the best thing - saved to last, as all best things are - is the colour. I've never seen the paints look so luminous. When I brought it in from the studio, my son thought it was painted on copper because it had that inner glow that copper paintings have.

I'm still experimenting with application of the primer because the first effort was too thickly applied and created a very slippery surface, but I'm loving it!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Reworking a Dry Painting

Mandarins and Stocks 16 x20"

I've been enjoying my fabulous fake flowers and painting lots of lush florals in the studio lately. The snow may sparkle outside, but inside it's mid summer.

While most of my paintings are done wet in wet in one session, this piece has had a couple of different incarnations on its way to maturity. I've changed the colour scheme almost completely from the original which had a more neutral beige background. By draping broken strokes of blue over it, I linked the blue in the vase with its setting, and created a nice vibration in the background. This would have been hard to get had the underlying paint been wet.

When I go back into a painting that has dried, I make sure that it is, in fact, thoroughly dry. If you paint over oils that have begun to set and are sticky, you run the risk of premature cracking down the road.
Then I oil the piece out to reduce friction and resaturate the colours. To do this I brush a thin layer of walnut oil (my usual medium) over the whole painting and then rub away most of it, leaving just a whisper of oil behind, When I paint over this, it has the smooth, easy application of wet paint. This extra layer of oil, also helps to fatten up any sunken areas of the painting which have become matte and unattractive as they have dried. This is a particular problem with the darks, which tend to be applied in a leaner way, either through thin application or by the addition of solvent.

I think this piece is done now. I hope you like it!