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Reason for slow dry medium?

I'd like to ask for some further explanation of this method we are using (Mark's method). If we are to avoid "blending" as a general rule while painting, why do we go to the lengths that we do in order to keep the paint from drying? I'm guessing that our technique is by nature slower and the little "bumps" (mark's term) that we make require wet paint? Could someone elaborate a bit on how we are using the slow dry factor to our advantage? Keep in mind that I'm an oil paint beginner, please.

-Scot White


  • Hi Scot,

    I would say that the SDM has several advantages - it allows you to take your time and correct your mistakes. Mark says to avoid blending or "fixing" as you are laying in the colors, but there is room for blending/softining of edges later in the process after the colors are laid in. The SDM also permits you to do that.

  • Also because you pre-mix your colors before you start to paint, you don't want your palette to dry out during the actual painting process :)
  • GaryGary -
    edited February 2013
    Blending doesn't necessarily imply blending paint over a larger area. Martin mentioned edges.....we talk of hard edges, soft edges, broken edges, lost edges..... But these are points along an endless variety of edges. Keeping our paints open (wet) allows you to create an edge, modify its hardness to xx degree and compare it to other edges even though the edges in question may be small and/or narrow. Because of this comparison of edges, you may feel the need to go back to an edge painted earlier and modify it - much easier to do when the previous edge is still wet. The examples are probably about the subtle transitions of hue/value/tone within a shadow. Or how about starting a painting, then oops!... its not what I had in mind....scrape off the wet paint and have another go!

    If you buy into the notion that keeping your paints open is important for any reason, then the size of the painting comes into play. No matter how fast one paints, bigger almost always takes longer so your paints will need to stay open longer.

    I guess in a perfect world, you'd mix the perfect color and lay it down in the perfect spot and never have to touch it again.......I don't/can't paint in that world. Wet paint is my 'fudge factor'! :)
  • Thanks everyone. These ideas make sense. I like to try to understand the reasons behind the things I'm doing before I do them. I was explaining Mark's method to a friend who loves art and when I had explained it in my own words, he asked, "Is it pointellism?". I thought to myself, well, yes, except the points are all different shapes and they barely overlap. Either I'm thinkning too much about this or my brain is broke'd.

    -Scot White
  • BTW. This painting was done using Utrecht Cad. Lemon Pure, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Ivory Black and of course Utrecht White, which is a mix of Titanium and zinc whites.
  • edited February 2013
    Thanks all for your in depth explanations. I just keep learning very useful things here on Mark's forum. I feel so educated compared to any other time I've attempted artistic endeavors. I'm trying not to expect too much from my initial attempts with this method but it's hard given the wonderful information you all (and Mark) give so generously.
  • Before I developed the slow dry medium I used to try and get my faces done within 8 hours of starting. Once the burnt umber starts to dry I am done. That is how important to me it is to work wet in wet.

    I do work in layers, but only when I HAVE to.
  • Thank you Mr. Kravit. I appreciate that. I really like your cabinet work also.
  • I have been doing some more impasto stuff lately and I hate not using the SDM. My brushes get dry, wasting tons of paint, don't like how stiff tube paint is....huh...guess I need to get back to SDM paint? :-\" :D
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