Showing posts from March, 2015

Neo Megilp

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 m…

Tuesday afternoon class at Calgary School of Art

I'll be starting the spring session of my regular Tuesday classes at the Calgary School of Art on March 31.  There are a few openings in the class this time and I hope you'll join me.  
The course is 12 weeks long and covers a lot of ground.  We start with still life, move on to independent subject choices and individual instruction, and finish with plein air.  The last day of class will be June 16.  
For more specific information about the course, please visit the workshop page on my website:

The tiling technique

The Russian Impressionists were my biggest influence when I was teaching myself to paint.  When a friend showed me Mary Balcomb's book, Sergei Bongart, I felt like I'd found my people.  Here was a man who painted with vigour and joy.  He loved colour and he dashed it on with big, overt brushtrokes.  I could see his hand in each rugged painting.

I've never lost the admiration for obvious brushwork and colour and it's been my goal ever since. The method of applying individual marks in this manner is called tiling.  Walter Sickert, a great British painter and teacher, compared it to a deck of cards placed sparingly on a coloured table top.  Each card was a separated touch of colour.  On top of those first cards, he would place more cards, bridging gaps in the first lay out, but never completely obscuring the table top.  He recommended marks varying in size from postage stamp to pea.  With enough loose, open layers, he could build rich surfaces and lively images.

The ke…