Art In History Art Blog
I talked about special places in my last post. One of the best for rock lovers is in Mexico, where I spent a week at Casa del los Artistas in Boca de Tomatlan. For more on this week, see my personal post under Peter Barnett. It was a plein aire workshop, and I came away with three tips that will add flexibility to my repertoire.
The first had to do with Sumo Brush painting on the go. Bob Masla had me experiment with a special travel brush and "ink pencil". I drew first with the pencil, much as I would with a soft graphite pencil, but doing only cursory shading. I then used a brush with a hollow plastic handle with a self-contained water supply, much like a dish sponge with its own supply of soapy water. By brushing over the drawing, I was able to get effects very similar to traditional brush painting. I have a ways to go in mastering it, but the possibilities are there.
The drawings I am showing were done at a jewel of a beach called Las Colonnitas, approachable only by hiking trail or by boat. Our first trip there was by land, only taking drawing supplies; our second was by boat, with my paint box. I am showing also an oil painting done then.
The second tip had to do with oil painting on paper. Though I had brought prepared masonite panels with me, I had underestimated the number I would use, and needed another ground. Bob had been a "beta tester" for Strathmore's special watercolor paper, which will take gesso and oil. At his direction, I gave the paper a single coat of gesso, followed a day later by a wash of tone, which also helped seal the paper. I did four works on paper, two of which I am showing in their unmounted state. If I choose, I can mount them on panel for presentation and framing.
The third tip had to do with my painting medium. I traditionally use a 50/50 mixture of oil and turp substitute as my medium. Bob suggested that toward the end of my week I switch to an Alcyd Resin medium for faster drying, and thus quicker portability.
This worked to a point. I passages where I was thinning with medium, the result did dry faster. However, in other passages where I used the oil paint unthinned - particularly the white accents - there was understandably no improvement in drying time. As a result, the paintings were not actually more portable on the the following day. By portable, I mean capable of being packed in a suitcase without damage.
So, in a workshop where I was not primarily in search of instruction, but rather of inspiration, I came away with both.