Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Glazes, Neal, and the final portrait!

I am pleased to announce, that with a little more than a week to go, I have begun THE FINAL PAINTING! Soon, dear followers, you will see the entire show in it's finished glory.

One of the steps to attaining that glory is a glaze I've been putting on once the painting is dry. My glaze is a mixture of ideas from Marsha Steinberg, my painting teacher back at Lorenzo de' Medici, and this guy, Jonathan Linton. Previously, on my Anna Lisa painting, I had used Marsha's medium mix of 2 parts stand oil to 1 part linseed, 1 part essence of turpentine, and 1 part damaar varnish. Recently though, I came across Mr. Linton's blog via the blog of James Gurney of Dinotopia fame. Mr. Linton mentioned that on a recent painting he did a final "oiling in" of stand oil and gamsol (odorless turpentine) once the painting was dry, and that it did the job to pop the darks back out again. So I messaged Linton, asking what was the logic behind oiling in as opposed to varnishing, and explained to him my medium. Linton wrote back,

"You don't want to add Damar (unless it's retouch) since that will seal the painting and the vapors underneath the varnish will be stuck. This will cause "blooming," which is a layer of milky white that will increase in opacity and size until the varnish layer is removed."

Since I still don't think I know that much about oil painting, and I am constantly concerned about yellowing of the colors and just archival quality in general, I decided to give his Gamblin calculator for mediums a try. After trying it, I bought some cold wax and made up a medium of my own: 85% stand oil, 10% cold wax, 5% linseed, and some essence of turpentine just to thin it out a little. So far (without being able to see the effect of 20 years on my paintings) I LOVE this mixture. It produces just enough sheen to bring back the dark colors, but the wax keeps it from being annoyingly glossy. It works perfect for making my paints smooth, yet is still viscous enough not to be too smooth- I can still make the paints work impasto. And then as a glaze it is just wonderful, with color or as just the final "oiling in". Anyway. That's enough about that, just wanted to share my discoveries. The photo above is there to show you what a glaze can do for paints that haven't had any medium. I don't lay it on that thick, but you get the idea. The dull parts are just pure oil paint that has dried without medium or glaze.

Finally, here is Mr. Bob Neal! All done except for a few Prussian Blue glazes in his shirt, and some drips off the bottom ice cream scoop on his tie.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bob Neal

If you've ever heard or have ever been to Ludington, inevitably there will be at least one of two things you know about it: The Car Ferry named the Badger that sails passengers across Lake Michigan to Manitouwak, Wisconsion, and House of Flavor's Ice Cream.

House of Flavors is owned by Bob Neal. This restaurant and ice cream parlor is so popular that it's even mentioned in a "Pure Michigan" ad for Ludington. There are most definitely over 31 flavors (beat that Baskin Robbins) and they are all made here in Ludington. Actually, my first job (and my brother's also) was being a "cone-y" or kid who scoops ice cream at House of Flavors. The business has had a significant impact on the area, to say the least.

But Bob Neal has done much more for the area than simply House of Flavors. An overriding theme that I'm discovering with all of my portrait subjects is that Ludington is a special and beautiful place- a place where you can leave your car unlocked and not worry about someone stealing anything. So Mr. Neal has decided to give back in other ways too. He's set up some condos by the city's marina with underground parking- much like they have back in Colorado where Mr. Neal spends some of his year. The condos are a beautiful addition, and have been very successful. Mr. Neal also owns some of the surrounding blocks around House of Flavors, and he has done an excellent job of attracting local businesses that have helped stimulate the cities economy, and as always, the blocks look beautiful.

So, it is my pleasure to once again to paint someone who has been so influential in helping Ludington to be a beautiful, prosperous city. Bob isn't quite done yet, but he's very close. The photo I've included is the progress on the painting thus far. Next up, my last portrait! Bill and Jane Carpenter.