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Paul's Blog



  • SummerSummer -
    edited February 27
    BOB73 said:
    I'm sticking with DMP for now except Sargent style don't have a clue on how to do that except just jump in. My drawing was horrendous. My hand can't control the pencil like it used to. Getting old really sucks. Avoid it as long as you can. Maybe I'll take up cooking. I should have no problem with a stir fry.
    Ha ha, @BOB73 ; If you don't have a clue on how to do the Sargent style, you are not alone.  He didn't either at first when he was learning it from his mentor.  I think you are on the right track in fact.  Being frightened is probably part of the process because of the lack of under drawings.  This fact kept his work spontaneous and fluid because there were no little boxes to fill in with value and color matching.  He decided on the spot what would happen if he were to mix two adjacent colors together on the painting that would make another, a third value or color.  If I'm thinking about such things and my brush is on the canvas, my strokes tend to be longer and more wistful which to me is very scary and why I like the DMP method better.  Just my opinion.  I'm assuming having or not having an under drawing doesn't matter for the challenge going on right now, but it certainly helps not to have an under drawing if the JSS method is to be emulated.  Summer
  • For MC's class, are you going to bring some robot skin to paint on or traditional canvas/linen.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited February 27
    Too soon for robot skin's availability on Amazon and elsewhere.  I think designs are in the making though.  It's funny to even think about.  Would it be like moleskin or rubber?  Hmm. 
  • SummerSummer -
    edited February 27
    I thought I read somewhere that Mark provides the painting surface for this course.  Stretched canvas.  Can anyone confirm?  Thanks.
  • @PaulB ; I'm wondering now if Mark would make an exception and let you bring along one of your already primed aluminum panels.  Summer
  • @Summer I don’t want try and get aluminum panels on a plane.  But i’ll be going for the whole experience, which means canvas.

    I’ll take Brushes though, because those W&N hog brushes are the worst thing I’ve ever used.
  • Well they weren't designed to paint floral patterns on curtains for windows less than 2mm wide.
  • So you are going the full hog for your trip then?
  • Not meaning any disrespect @PaulB but my money is on Mark winning this one even though you may bristle for a while.  You are going to come back to us a changed man.   :)  
  • Summer

    It will be fun watching PaulB painting a Sargent style Cinque Terre.


  • Paint Mileage
    I have been using Geneva paint for just over 9 months.  During that time I've started 40 paintings.  Sure, some weren't finished, but still that represents a fair amount of paint.

    I am still using the first set of paint.  I finished the black tube, and the Burnt Umber is almost finished.  The blue, red, yellow and white have at least 25% remaining, maybe more, it's hard to tell.  The power colors are barely touched, as expected.  Furthermore, this set of paint was pre-owned, these weren't quite full tubes when I started.

    Granted, I'm not slinging a lot of paint around, the floor is clean, and I don't waste much, but still, this amounts to well under $1 a day, and I have plenty of paint left.  I've spent more on canvas, panels and aluminum.  Let's not talk about easels.

    I thought I'd be using more than this.

    I have some Burnt Umber problems.  It's really thick, and contains gritty lumps.  Every time I use some, I knead the tube for a while, but there's no point shaking it, it's too thick and doesn't move around.  But I've figured out the problem: with the tube closed, I can squeeze it and hear the air hissing.  I have a leak.  I've been thinking this is a bad batch, but it's my fault.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited March 2
    Love your paintings @hussain.  The details are interesting to ponder.  I even like your signature--the design of it, placement, and color.  You certainly have it all together! 
  • The burnt umber I have is super thick as well, but a new tube i ordered feels liquidy in the tube like the other colours. Might be partly an age thing too
  • Same thing with my burnt umber.  It is stiff when I get it out of the tube - always has been rather stiff but now, it is even more -  I take a palette knife and beat it to death to get it to flow some.  :)    I agree about how long they last!  It is amazing.  
  • edited March 3
  • Summer said:
    Not meaning any disrespect @PaulB but my money is on Mark winning this one even though you may bristle for a while.  You are going to come back to us a changed man.   :)  
    How do you spell that sound you hear when an old man groans? At least I didn't remind @PaulB that Austin is a great place to pig out and bristling with fun places to visit. nor did I bring up the printer's short-hand for "Out of Ink" (OINK).
  • PaulB said:
     those W&N hog brushes are the worst thing I’ve ever used.
    I agree.  But I just have to say that when it comes to brushes I have always felt that I had to pay my dues which means I purchase plenty just to test the experience for myself--especially if the artist giving the recommendation gives a demonstration.  I'm always open for new ideas of how to handle brushes.  A while back, I even painted an entire painting with one small brush.  I think what you like and use depends a lot on how you hold the brush and if any shoulder action is involved.  Summer
  • I'm still in the rushing about stage of things, so I just skimmed this thread, but I do have to say. That is one helluva beautiful leaf painting.  I'm not so sure about there being better ways to spend time, I couldn't think of any.  Like I said that is one helluva leaf.

  • uh_clem said:
    I'm not so sure about there being better ways to spend time, I couldn't think of any.

    Thank you @uh_clem, that's very kind.

    My comment about better ways to spend time should have been elaborated.  What I mean is that it took me a solid month to do that.  If I was a professional artist, I'd have to sell that at twice my monthly living expenses in order to cover my costs.  That would be a ridiculous cost for a leaf painting.  So I think it would be better to paint a few smaller paintings than one overly-detailed leaf, which is what I meant by a better way to spend time.

    Luckily, I'm not an artist, so I don't have to cover costs.
  • @PaulB, I don't know why I didn't see this blog before now  ! I love the Trees, funky brushes or not it works. I think we should do what we have to do to get the effect we want. What's the story with your easel problems ? How does it effect your work ? @Julianna, please do post your Paintings even if they are not DMP, put them here, since Paul is discussing other Artists, there is so much for everyone to learn. When I had a young Family I bought Oil Paints, no brushes or canvases. I didn't even open them because I couldnt afford to buy canvasesand was afraid I would waste them. When I did start Painting it was Watercolour, which were very challenging..but one day I started Painting instinctively, and knew whether I needed Ultramarine or Cobalt, etc. I bought some Oil Painting Tuition books, but couldnt get my head around why, if I wanted green grass I was advised to Paint a layer of Raw Sienna first, the add another colour then finally the Green. I came across Marks Tutorials and Carder Forum, my Son heard me talking about his method so much that he made me a Colour Checker and Bought me Marks DVD, then I bough The Portrait one. It was made for me, made sense. Life got in the way for a few years and I have only done 4 DMP Paintings, but am on fire to get stuck in and do more. I miss Mark and David's comments, they were here a lot before Geneva dragged them away, but at least we have the wonderful paints. Great blog Paul :)
  • marieb said:
    What's the story with your easel problems ? How does it effect your work ?
    I'll try to keep it short, but I have had had several easels:

    1. A desktop folding A-frame easel.  I thought a desktop one would be ideal because it wouldn't take up space.  I learned that even a tiny desktop easel couldn't keep a six-inch panel in place, because it would slide all over the place, and there isn't much to lean it back against.  The easel itself has no mass, so it would move all over the desk, and I couldn't lean on it at all.  The idea of a mahl stick on a desktop easel is a joke, it just doesn't work.

    2. So I moved up to a fancy tripod-based easel.  This was initially good, but it failed me a few times.  It's all based on a design fault, which is that everything above the tripod puts stress on the single camera shoe-mount attachment, and that deformed and dropped the painting on me, and on the floor a couple of times.  It got so that it just wouldn't hold the painting up.  Again, there wasn't enough mass, stability or a secure mount to use a mahl stick, and I could not lean on it at all.  When I say lean on it, I mean paint with my little finger resting on the canvas/panel and the brush in the same hand.  Even that little pressure caused the whole thing to wobble and drop the painting.

    3. Then I ordered a fancy, custom-built, special wood, monster of an easel, but it takes months to arrive (5 and counting so far), so...

    4. I bought a cheap temporary easel.  It's an H-frame Richelson dulce, and frankly it's great.  I found there was a Blick's nearby, and I went and spent ~$200 on it, and it's really good.  it's solid and stable, adjustable in a minimal kind of way, and with a 48" x 32" aluminum panel, with me leaning on it heavily, it doesn't move.  If I'd bought this one first, I would have been completely happy with it.

    One day I'll have two, and I'll be able to talk about how a low-end and high-end easel compare.  Moral of the story: every time I try to cut a corner, it comes back to haunt me. But I do like trying new stuff.

    I started with watercolors too, a long time ago, although I never got any good at it, just stayed at the incompetent/mess skill level.  Mark's teaching hit the spot for me also, @marieb, so I agree.
  • mariebmarieb -
    edited March 17
    @PaulB, thanks for “ short” Reply
  • The Easel Odyssey. When the expensive Easel will come, he will ask for an arch and a brush. Only if u will be able to shoot the brush through the eye of ten colour checker in one shot u will survive, otherwise he will take the control and we'll live with the aluminium panel happily for ever.

    Joke aside, I made my Easel from scratch, two parallel wood bar glued to one small bed table with one 7kg kettle bell on the the top. I actually nail the wood panel for painting. I guess it's the most Spartan things ever for painting. One day I will buy an expensive easel and I will feel like king Arthur and Geneva (the queen).
  • Bobitaly said:
    ... shoot the brush through the eye of ten colour checker ...
    It's easier to shoot a rigger brush through the eye of a color checker than it is to get into a Carder class?

    Bobitaly said:
    king Arthur and Geneva (the queen).
    You're a very witty guy.
  • Rigger Brushes

    I like rigger brushes, but I don't like real bristles, and I will only buy synthetics.  That said, I did inadvertently buy real fibres in the past, and have used a sable blend for a year now.  I love it, but that's not good enough.  Which synthetic will I use?

    I bought three synthetic fibre rigger brushes, all Rosemary & Co, all size 0, to see which one will be my new favorite.  Here they are:

    From top to bottom:

    Sable Blend (real + synthetic)

    This is my old faithful, still performing well after more than a year of use.  The initial use was hard on the brush, and it lost a lot of bristles early on, but has now stabilized.  For the first few months, it got washed in turpentine several times a day.   Now it just gets brush dip and a wipe.  The brush dip gradually restored its shape.  If currently is a bit ragged at the tip, probably a sign of age, but the overall softness is great for blending or getting an even, thin layer of paint.  The brush is soft enough to allow me to mix paint.  This one is the benchmark against which I will judge the others.

    Eclipse (synthetic)

    This is a synthetic mongoose, which looks like a blend of different bristles.  It's very soft, although there are some stiffer bristles in there.  The result is quite pleasing, and the closest in feel to the Sable blend.  I thought after using this one that it would be my preferred brush because of how close it is to the Sable blend.  Nope.

    Evergreen (synthetic)

    The evergreen is uniformly stiff, meaning the fibres are all the same, but it's soft enough to allow paint mixing.  You cannot mash it into the palette, it resists bending the bristles.  What this means is that if you press hard on the palette, it can flick paint.  It's soft enough to allow me to get good paint coverage, but stiff enough to retain brush shape.  This one is my favorite.

    Ivory (synthetic)

    The ivory has the stiffest bristles, which are great for putting paint into a tight spot, and having the brush retain its shape, but it's too stiff to use for mixing paint.  This one flicks paint also.  It is a bit too close to actually being a stick.  Ivory bristles are incompatible with Gamsol, which is something I read ... somewhere.

    There is one more synthetic I have not tried, which is Shiraz.  I must have missed that one, but it's on order now.  I find it interesting that even among rigger brushes, the different fibres make the behavior quite different.
  • I try my best @PaulB  to not take myself serious. I like the explanation about brushes. I am very ignorant about them.
  • edited March 18
    I have the Rosemary series 88. Pure sable size 0 and size 2 riggers and love them. The size 2 especially is still small but when loaded with paint and pressed onto the canvas flattens out to hit a relatively large surface area. So you can do a stroke that starts very thin and then gets much thicker as you push down the brush.. Which I find fun to do. Part of me wants to get a set of these riggers size 0 to whatever the bigger ones are. Thanks for your review... I will try one of the ones you recommend the next time I place an order

    I actually started a new painting yesterday and doing it mostly with the size 0 rigger. Love that guy. Something I like about the super soft brushes is how thickly you can paint. Those ivory ones and hog bristles make it harder to do thick strokes

  • Ok, I am very curious about this. I have not enjoyed riggers at all so I have avoided them. I have a few inexpensive brushes. What type of effect do you get with riggers?  The ones I have seem to be too flexible, lacking enough form. Perhaps it is because I tend to avoid detail work, at least as of yet.

    Thanks in advance.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited March 21
    Renoir said:
    Ok, I am very curious about this. I have not enjoyed riggers at all so I have avoided them. I have a few inexpensive brushes. What type of effect do you get with riggers?  The ones I have seem to be too flexible, lacking enough form. Perhaps it is because I tend to avoid detail work, at least as of yet.

    Some people would agree with you about the riggers being too flexible and lacking enough form.  What painters do instead is get to know the tips of their flats very well--all sizes.  I use both, but then I am a brush hog! 
  • @Renoir, riggers are designed for long flowing, elegant curves, a bit like calligraphy.  This makes it easy to paint a hard edge in one stroke.  The softer the rigger bristle, the easier this is to make nice curves, but it is a bit like painting with a wet noodle.

    The harder bristle riggers are a little less able to do the curves, but you can basically write your name using the point of these riggers, like it was a pencil.

    By picking up paint and moving the rigger left and right on the palette, you can flatten the bristles into a blade and get really thin lines.

    Bad for blending.  Bad for coloring in large areas.  Bad with thick paint.  Good for straight and curved lines.  Good for tiny details.  Good for a really thin layer of paint.
  • edited March 19
    One way I've found of using riggers that I like is holding it at a distance, loading it with paint, and painting similar to the way Mark does in his videos... Lots of random strokes and dabs. When doing this patiently, adding more and more random strokes and values leads to a realistic look. This is what I'm doing for my current painting.

    The rigger I have is definitely a bit floppy so it requires a gentle touch on the canvas, but pushing it hard in works too. I like painting like this. Using a small brush makes it easy

    Should be able to zoom in and see what I mean

  • ok, now it makes more sense. I know you've used the term, painting with a wet noodle. For some reason my hands shake too much with that kind of detail even when I have a lot of support. And I don't have tremors or anything.

    Thanks. I'll have to experiment with the ones I have.
  • @Renour to reduce hand shake, try resting your elbow in the center of your palette.  Works for me.
  • to reduce hand shaketry resting your elbow in the center of your palette.  Works for me

    Does any  particular color work best?
  • Does any  particular color work best?
    They are all equally washable, but phthalo has the most regret.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited March 28
    When I get hand shake, I hold the painting hand with the other hand at the wrist--tightly--when I'm not using a maul stick.  (Sometimes spelled mahl stick.) 
  • like holding a gun?
  • Summer said:
    When I get hand shake, I hold the painting hand with the other hand at the wrist--tightly--when I'm not using a maul stick.  
    I posted recently about a maul stick variant and a drawing board I made with a slideable arm rest. They might be useful for you?
  • @movealonghome your painting is beautiful... it sounds so easy, a dab here, a line here, and yet the wisdom is in knowing where to put the dab and the line. Honestly, I think I see the ripples in the water and the fog gently lifting off the trees...
    I would love to be able to do landscapes as well as you. Maybe then I need to follow Paul's and your lead and start playing with a rigger brush. I've been hiding behind flats, rounds, and my favorite, filberts.
  • @Renoir, in Mark's Landscape video he uses a filbert brush for the whole thing, and there are some pretty small, detailed strokes in there.  In this preview, skip towards the end to see this:

    The fineness of the details doesn't appear a lot different from @movealonghome's work above, in fact, they are remarkably similar in terms of the abstract effects and overall painting quality.  Way to go @movealonghome.
  • Maul stick? Isn't that quite a bit heavier and bigger than a Mahl stick. I would use a Maul stick to adjust Paul's easel's attitude. But seriously, has anyone used a Mahl Bridge? I'm considering one of these but I'm not sure how it attaches to painting or easel.
  • Ah yes, not a Maul Stick.. :o

    I looked at that Mahl Bridge, but it says you have to clamp it to a canvas if using an easel. My drawing board works well for me at the moment. I would do a slightly different design for the next one but it works ok as it is :)

  • Hey! There is some excellent information here on people’s experience with brushes and brushwork. It would make a great standalone thread that forum members could add to which would benefit us all. @PaulB I would like to suggest that you kick it off with copying and pasting the rigger brush post you made into a new thread and others could add to it with their own posts. What do you think?
  • Boudicca said:
    ... @PaulB I would like to suggest that you kick it off with copying and pasting the rigger brush post you made into a new thread and others could add to it with their own posts. What do you think?
    Happy to comply.
  • Cracking

    I've found cracking in paint.  Here are two square centimetres:

    This purple color was painted directly on top of primer, and all in one day on September 30 2017.  How do I know this?  I photograph whatever I worked on, at the end of every day of painting.  At the time, the priming was three months dry on aluminum panel.

    So while there might be a couple of layers there, it was alla prima, at least in this small section.  You can see the white primer beneath.  There is no question of fat over lean.  Geneva paint, no power colors used here, no additional medium.  Pyrrole Red, French Ultramarine Blue, and Titanium White only.

    The painting has been in the same room all this time, in a heated home.  The temperature fluctuation could have been from 58F to 80F at most.  It has never been in direct sunlight.

    To what can I attribute the cracking?  Any ideas?  Anything I should do differently?

    I've looked closely over the whole painting, and every other painting I have, and this is the only example I have of cracking.  There are no surface indentations or damage.


    My plan is to remix the color, add liquin for flexibility, and paint over this minimally.  Anyone have a better idea?
  • I have no clue what may cause this cracking to occur. Are you going to need to oil it out first?
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