Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Maroger Medium

First Day of Spring
10 x 8
detail
It was too nice to stay in the studio the other day so I took the paints to my favourite park.  This little piece was all that I had time for, but I like it; it captures the airy, sunny glare of the scene.  You have to imagine the incessant bird song as they sing for their mates, and the rushing sound of the river just on the other side of this little bank.  It was a magical couple of hours and worth all of the mud on my boots and car mats.

Because I was outside, I allowed myself a smelly medium instead of my usual walnut oil.  I brought Maroger medium, beloved of David Leffel and Gregg Kruetz.  It smells powerfully, has lead in it, and has a lovely, silky consistency with just a hint of stickiness as it starts to set.  You can see my dilemma.

The detail shows the range of marks that are possible with Maroger, from the slight skiff of the ochre scumble in the upper left to the brushy, impasto marks in the snow.  The marks sit nicely on top of each other without settling down and losing their individuality, something that's very important when you're trying to make every brushstroke count.

It's not something that I can use in the studio - it makes me dizzy after inhaling it for a day and the lead exposure worries me for daily use - but I keep it for the occasional outdoor day as a treat and try not to get too attached to its working qualities.





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