Painting in oils again.

Oil painting.

Oil painting.

It’s been awhile since I’ve worked with oil paint, and I’m enjoying the reintroduction. I like using palette knives rather than brushes, and I use brown wrapping paper to create texture and soak up some of the paint’s oil. I enjoy the fact that I really don’t have complete control over what the paper is going to do, and it is always a surprise when I pull the paper off and see the canvas for the first time. Sometimes it’s a complete disaster, but more times than not it works.

The painting is pretty much done. When it’s dry I will make a varnish using damar resin, turpentine, and stand oil. The varnish will be thick and bring up sunken colours.

Yesterday in the studio.

Raw material.

I place sheets as of paper as drop sheets under the paintings I’m working on. The paper catches all the paint that splatters, And eventually gets marked up with pencil and ink. Often I find the drop sheets on their own can be quite beautiful.

Raw materials.

These sheets will eventually get used in different ways. They get transformed into paintings or collages. I tend to keep all scraps of paper if they seem interesting, and this does cause a general air of chaos in my studio.

Wavy rainbow.

Eventually the drop sheets get turned into something like this detail. This painting has a layer of thin transparent rice paper laminated to the surface. You can still see what is underneath.  I work the top layer with watercolour and gouache.

Studio time.

My daughter loves to work in the studio, and here she is painting a picture of us driving in our old car to the beach.

Easter painting.

Even though I have several piles of things I’m working on, I decided to start a new painting. Something for Easter.

Easter cat.

Then I thought I might as well start two.  Cats with bunny ears. Screams Easter.



The painting Flag is in many ways a crossover painting. It is the bridge from one group of straight painterly paintings to my more recent constructions. It utilizes the poured gesso technique of Push, but because of the rectangular shape the technique didn’t seem to have the same impact as it did in the square format. The square seemed so comfortably focused, whereas the rectangle seemed less self-contained.

I have been collecting various materials and objects that I find interesting. One such item was a roll of packing material made of cardboard that had thousands of uniform cuts of about two inches long in it. The cardboard was very soft and had an almost woven quality to it. I soaked the cardboard in gesso and attached it to the plywood support. The result looked heavy and unbalanced and I felt I had to add something to balance the composition. I had two small panels I had started then discarded, and I nailed them to the other side of the plywood to complete the composition.

I decided to keep the painting fairly simple by placing an under coating of yellow acrylic over which I applied a top coat of ultramarine blue. I scraped away some of the blue so the under painting would show through on the raised areas of poured gesso. The cardboard I painted with an under coat of acrylic black and over that I placed layers of cadmium red oil paint.

The title suggested itself fairly obviously as I worked. I like the dual nature of the title, it could represent a national flag, or it could also be an object flagged for attention. While not necessarily a successful painting I still view it as an important step in the development of my work.