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Old 08-28-2005, 01:14 PM   #11
Sharon Knettell Sharon Knettell is offline
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Claudimir,

In the book, "John Singer Sargent", by Carter Ratcliff, (Abbeville Press) it says " the places of masses were indicated with a rigger dipped in a flowing pigment. No preparation in colour was allowed, but the main planes of the face must be laid directly on the unprepared canvas with a broad brush." This book is available on this site.

I tone my canvasses based on my color theme, if it is to be a green theme, I tone it green, a yellow theme, yellow, etc.

After talking to Micheal Harding, the paint maker, I will not use any kind of acrylic under-painting, not even Liquin or Galkyd, or acrylic gessoed canvasses.

Alexandra,

Good pigments as a rule should not fade, alizarin, one of my favorites does. Vermilion can blacken when exposed to sulphuric acid, a by product of the use of coal heat.

All oil paints will in time yellow and get more transparent.

A recent article in "The American Scientist" shows the results of the pigment change in Seurat's "Le Grande Jatte" to be a decided shift to yellow.

Allan,

In another book on Sargent, he used thickly painted darks.
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Old 08-28-2005, 01:39 PM   #12
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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Quote:
After talking to Michael Harding, the paint maker, I will not use any kind of acrylic under-painting, not even Liquin or Galkyd, or acrylic gessoed canvasses.
What did he say would happen if an artist uses canvases that are gessoed with acrylic? (I sometimes use them for my non-portrait work.)

[quote]Good pigments as a rule should not fade, alizarin, one of my favorites does. [/quote}You might want to check out Gamblin's Permanent Alizarin. Richard Schmidt, among others, seem to feel it is truly permanent.
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Old 08-28-2005, 02:15 PM   #13
Allan Rahbek Allan Rahbek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon Knettell
Allan,

In another book on Sargent, he used thickly painted darks.
Sharon,

In the notes on Sargent's technique, a student of him, Miss. Heyneman, tells that he would brush in the general tone with paint diluted in turps. After then he used the paint mostly undiluted.

You are right that he painted all effects with opaque paint. He said that if we would paint something transparent, it should not be done with transparent paint, but in the right mixture of color, in opaque paint.

He also would wipe out a face or hand and start over at the next sitting if he was not satisfied with the result. That would leave several layers of skin color I guess.

Allan
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Old 08-28-2005, 02:43 PM   #14
Allan Rahbek Allan Rahbek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michele Rushworth
What did he say would happen if an artist uses canvases that are gessoed with acrylic? (I sometimes use them for my non-portrait work.)
.
The acrylic gesso that I have used for priming canvas lately dries up matte and very absorbent. I don
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Old 08-28-2005, 03:25 PM   #15
Sharon Knettell Sharon Knettell is offline
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Michele,

He said not to use them, I have notes, I will see if I can find them.

His knowledge is quite encyclopedic and my poor brain could not quite contain the amount of information he delved out.

He went into the types of canvas, the weave, twill or regular and what effect where the flax was grown to the quality of its' use as a paint surface.

I did a bit of research last spring and I was disappointed in the lack of good painting surfaces. One reason lead gessoing is so desirable is its' flexibilty and durability. Unfortunately good prepared lead gessoed canvas is rare. But this is going beyond the purview of this thread.

As to alizarin, I am wary of using Gamblin as they use an alkali refined linseed oil as opposed to a cold-pressed linseed oil more common in European oil paint manufacture. According to Ralph Mayer, cold pressed is more durable and it does not have a suede effect. That is when a paint color changes as a result of the direction of a paint stroke.
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Old 08-29-2005, 01:33 AM   #16
Terri Ficenec Terri Ficenec is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon Knettell
. . .According to Ralph Mayer, cold pressed is more durable and it does not have a suede effect. That is when a paint color changes as a result of the direction of a paint stroke.
Sharon, thanks for sharing that! I've noticed that effect occasionally, but didn't realize the type of oil was the cause or that some brands of paint might behave differently. Is there a particular brand you favor that doesn't produce a 'sueded' effect?
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Old 08-29-2005, 08:04 AM   #17
Sharon Knettell Sharon Knettell is offline
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Terry,

Yes, Blockx and Micheal Harding.

You could also try this trick I learned on a Daniel Greene tape. When the paint is still quite wet run a soft fan brush gently across the surace in one direction without destroying the strokes.
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Old 06-12-2006, 12:57 AM   #18
Dianne Gardner Dianne Gardner is offline
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Quote:
I will not use any kind of acrylic under-painting, not even Liquin or Galkyd, or acrylic gessoed canvasses.
That is interesting because I have also heard that liquin is not a good substance to use. However, I know someone taking classes and her instructor uses a method of layering that involves applying a liquin glaze over each layer of dried paint before applying the next coat. Her paintings are smooth and beautiful with a lovely reflective shine to them. I would be interested to know what is going to happen to them in the future.

Dianne
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Old 06-15-2006, 05:51 AM   #19
Paul Foxton Paul Foxton is offline
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I find it interesting that Sargent used thick paint for darks. Lately I've been experimenting with a method of building up paintings based mostly on some reading I've been doing about Rubens's technique, at least what the author assumed his technique was:

He contends that Rubens used a grey ground, in which he left texture from the brush strokes visible. He would then build up shadow areas with brown transparent glazes, which would allow the brush strokes of the ground to show through the glazes in shadow areas to give the shadows variation and life. The light reflecting off the ground behind the glazes would give the shadows depth. Apparently Rembrandt's way of handling shadows and lights was similar, but with a slower, more methodical approach and much thicker impastos for light areas with the colour applied over them in glazes.

I work alla prima, so don't build up successive glazes, but based on the above have been trying out a similar approach:

First the support is covered with a couple of coats of Roberson's acrylic gesso, with a big brush to leave brush strokes standing proud. Then, when dry, the gesso is sanded back a bit but still with some texture from the brush strokes left. I then apply a mix of ultramarine and burnt sienna in fast drying alkyd, rubbing it with a cloth rather than painting it. This brings up the texture of the brush strokes in the ground.

Next stage is to lay in the shadows with a mixture of burnt sienna and ultramarine, laid in quite thin but with quite a high percentage of whatever medium I'm using - lately I've been favouring Roberson's maroger. These shadow areas are kind of scumbled in, letting the mix shift more to ultramarine or sienna depending on whether the shadow area looks warmer or cooler. This isn't strictly a tonal underpainting, since tone supplied by local colour is ignored, I only paint the shadows at this point.

Once this is done, I start laying in colour on the areas in full light with thicker, opaque paint, followed by dragging some colour into the shadow gazes where it's needed, i.e. where I can see some colour in the shadow. Throughout I'm trying to match the colours I see as closely as I possibly can.

So far I'm finding that this method gives me a stronger impression of light in the painting, with the opaque areas with full light falling on them coming forward, set off by warm, soft shadows. I'm pretty happy with the way the experiments are going so far, but I've also found that it's easy to overdo the texture in the ground. On a recent small painting of a bottle and a lemon, the bottle was painted with very thin paint in this way, and it did give some impression of the transparency of the glass, against the thicker opaque paint of the highlights on the lemon. Far be it from me to argue with Sargent of course, I'm just describing a different approach to shadows and transparency which seems to be working for me so far.

I've yet to try this on a portrait though, I'm not painting portraits yet. The above is a very crude version of what I've read about Rubens's technique, applied to small still life paintings on MDF, (Medium Density Fibre Board - I don't know what the name for it is in the US.)

Sharon, you've got me worried with what Michael Harding's been saying to you about acrylic gesso and alkyd based under painting. I recently switched to using his paints on your recommendation, and I'm very impressed with them. This man really knows his stuff. I too would very much appreciate a bit more information on that if you can find it. No problem if you can't though, I can drop him a line myself.

Sorry for the long post. This thread has got me exited!
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Old 06-15-2006, 07:22 AM   #20
Richard Budig Richard Budig is offline
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Paul:

Interesting about how you texture your mdf.

For the last couple of years, I've been doing a seires of little oil sketches of local kids that I sketch at the local library. I go there twice a week and do free pencil sketches. It costs less than hiring a model, and is more taxing but more "learning-ful" because you have to get on with it and do it in about five minutes or the kids will fall asleep or get restless and lose pose. When I find an interesting face, I grab a shot with my digital camera, and from that, I'll do a 12X16 oil sketch on mdf which the library puts up in my "library kids" section.

But, my point is, I've been experimenting with texturing the surfaces of these little boards. I use an old wall paper paste brush, an old and well worn hand held whisk broom, wadded up newspaper for pressing down into the thick gesso, or the same thing with a balled up wad of plastic Saran wrap.

The point is, I keep fiddling, looking for odd ways to texture the gesso, which, as you know by now, sometimes makes for a very interesting painting surface.

I don't do this for more serious portrait work. I don't now why. Not sure "they" would understand.

But, it's fun to texture the stuff and see what happens in/on the painting surface.
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