Sunday, March 22, 2015

Neo Megilp

Green Sweater
14 x 11
Cowl Neck Sweater
12 x 10
In my continuing quest for just the right mark, I've been experimenting with Gamblin's Neo Megilp. It's their lead-free imitation of Maroger medium: a soft gel used by many painters, notably one of my all-time favourites: Fairfield Porter.

I used the gel in these two small paintings done last week during a half-day model painting session in my studio.  NM has an interesting character under the brush: it both slows my mark and makes it more robust and fluid.  There's a subtle sticking quality despite its description as a "silky" gel, and that makes each mark more deliberate.  It's similar, in that respect, to using a 50/50 mix of stand oil and OMS, but the colour is prettier with NM.  The increased sense of fluidity comes, I think, from the fact that I instinctively load my brush with more paint and medium in order to overcome the stickiness. (That heavier pigment load accounts for the colour's beauty, I think.) The result is an effect that is both my style and not, in my eyes.

NM doesn't allow for the same chunky impasto that straight paint or a 50/50 medium does.  It melts the mark slightly, softening it but still allowing bristle lines to retain their shape.  There are some bizarre fluid dynamics at work here.

The nice thing was that it let me get substantial paint on the linen in a hurry.  I could skip the long stretch of building enough paint to get to the fun edges and jump right in.  The same thing happens with mediums like Res N Gel, but I find they go too far, too fast.  With them, I can't achieve any of the medium consistency paint at all, and am working entirely in impasto from the start; something I find monotonous.

These two small paintings came from just 3 hours of model time.  They have a "finished" feeling because of the edge treatment and lack of scratchy underpainting.  Working small also helped me to accomplish so much.

Next up is a 30 x 30 of a still life that I've got set up in the studio.  I'll give the NM a go and see how it performs at that scale.  It may be too tiring to have my natural speed slowed down with every stroke, and I may find the edges too soft.  Or it may be that mythical creature: the perfect medium.  I have to try!

Happy painting!


Connie said...

The small ones are lovely--can't wait to see the 30x30.

Ingrid Christensen said...

Thank you, Connie!
The larger piece is throwing me some curb balls, but I think I'm getting the hang of the medium. It has some drawbacks but lots of potential, as well.
I'll post it soon, I think.

LS Nelson said...

I'm relieved to hear someone else use the word 'sticky' to the feeling of NM. I didn't notice any improvement in color, so I was too focused on the feeling of the medium. I'll give it another try after reading your comments. Thank you for talking about your's a great help to the rest of us!

Ingrid Christensen said...

Thanks for reading, LS!
I'm still on the fence about NM, but I do like a lot about it. It's also one of the few mediums that doesn't make me feel giddy after using it in the confines of the studio. That's a plus!