14 x 11
|Cowl Neck Sweater|
12 x 10
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!