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Paul's Blog



  • PaulBPaulB mod
    @movealonghome, @Summer, it's primed with exterior household latex primer, that white color that shows through.
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    @BOB73, you guessed it, this piece has been involved in several attempted murders.  
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    @dencal, I think you're right.  I leave paint on my (mostly covered) palette for weeks.  That would count as insufficient medium, when it starts to thicken.  Thanks!
  • PaulB

    Artristic invited you to call them and resolve this easel issue. Did that happen?


  • PaulBPaulB mod

    Does your dibond fit tightly in the grooves? I'm surprised the canvas doesn't fit tighter. 
    Not by default, but if you lay in a strip of foam weatherproofing in the two grooves, my 3mm panels are gripped solidly.  I can't use the plastic "feet" things at the back, because they are not positioned well for panels, and not being rubber they have no grip.

    I'm not surprised that any easel has inferior grip compared to screwing the painting to it.
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    dencal said:
    Artristic invited you to call them and resolve this easel issue. Did that happen?
    We exchanged a few emails, and I declined an updated replacement.  Artristic customer service is excellent.
  • PaulBPaulB mod

    Taking a Short Break

    Sometimes you need a little break, despite the deadlines.

    Matte vs Satin Varnish

    I bought Gamvar Gloss and Gamvar Satin retouch varnish.  I've never used these before, so it's time to experiment.  I took a painting that had been drying for six months, and varnished it using Gamvar Satin.

    While applying the varnish, the colors looked glorious instead of the inconsistent shiny and flat patches. When dry, the painting was very smooth, and all the surface of the painting was the same consistency.  Lovely.  But the blacks are not black, because the satin finish scatters light, and the blacks appear dark grey.

    After letting that dry for a week, I applied gloss varnish over the top.  My assumption is that because a satin finish is due to molecular surface topology, gloss over satin results in gloss.  It does.  Now the blacks are black again.

    I took pictures, but it is almost impossible to see the difference.  No point posting them.


    It's been 14 months of painting, so I decided to clean out my jars of solvents for the first time.  I didn't expect it to be, but this was an easy task.

    I have one of those stainless steel brush washing things, and it had OMS in it plus a year of gunk.  I poured off the clear OMS into a jar, then disassembled the thing.  The little basket was pretty clean, oddly enough, and just took a wiping down.  The bucket itself had a half centimetre or sludge in it.  I got this out with paper towels and a chop stick, then a rinse in fresh OMS and a wipe.

    My jar of brush dip had turned a very cloudy "I had a bad weekend" yellowish color and had some sludge also.  I had to discard about 1.5 cm of it, because the particulates hadn't settled at all.  Paper + chop stick and it was clean.

    The Gamsol jar was pretty clean anyway, and I don't use it much because of the Rosemary & Co ivory bristle warning.

    Now they are labelled also, because I don't want to get this wrong.

  • You didn't have them labeled before????!!!!   holy cow - that's a disaster waiting to happen at my house!  I have to keep them on separate tables because I dipped my brush in gamvar and not gamsol one day.  I have a few of those containers with the wire in them - I found that putting a screw in the bottom after pouring the clear top layer out and adding just a touch of what I poured back in and put the lid on and shake like crazy.  Voila - in seconds - clean!    Now, get back to work :)
  • Very good idea I just gleamed from your photo @PaulB  - date stamp my Geneva paints,..I have not done this and have just reached for any tube in my draw, this is bad management on my behalf,...and a good tip from you,...
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    @alsart I think using up the older tubes first is a good idea.  But I did this to try and track how long they last.  Answer: long time, for me, but no real idea yet.
  • Wish I had something dirty to clean.
  • BOB73

    Don’t tempt me with a line like that.


  • Are you going to test how the satin + gloss varnish layers compare to one or two layers of gloss. I use Gamvar mixed with Gamsol (80/20% ratio) which helps with beading up and I think makes it less likely to be tacky even when done thinly.
  • @Richard_P, do you mean the tendency for Gamvar to sometimes bead on the paint surface? I've noticed that myself. I'll try the mixing with Gamsol trick.
  • Yes, it's recommended on Gamblin's page to help with beading up issues:

    What to do when varnish beads up

    1. Reduce the amount of Gamvar that is being applied to the painting. Blotting extra varnish off the brush onto a paper towel before applying is an excellent way to achieve this.
    2. Dilute the varnish with 10-20% Gamsol.
    3. Brush the varnish vigorously as it dries. Gamvar will begin to tack up in about 15 minutes. Continuing to brush after it begins to tack up may help it to adhere, but it will also reduce its level of gloss the longer you continue to brush it.
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    edited April 2018
    I made a Mahl stick out of scrap.  It's the type that hooks over the top of the painting, and the soft plywood means it shouldn't damage anything.  I'll try not to yank the painting off the easel.

    [This is where Richard says "OH NOOOO"]

    This is the very pinnacle of my woodworking skills.

  • The stick's background seems a real landscape.
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Bobitaly said:
    The stick's background seems a real landscape.
    Putting a painting out of focus does wonders for its realism.
  • Did you read about how I made my own Mahl stick @PaulB?
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Richard_P said:
    Did you read about how I made my own Mahl stick @PaulB?
    Yes, I did, it influenced mine. I wanted something with a softer hook than metal, because I'm going to be hanging it from composite panels, and I suspect a metal hook might ding it.
  • I suspect the plywood isn't as soft as you think it is and you will be putting more pressure on the stick than you think you will. It will be fine leaning on the easel though. You might consider putting a piece of pipe insulation over the end of the stick.
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Good point @BOB73.  Thanks.
  • It has the added benefit of being soft and quiet if you drop it and won't startle the cat.
  • I had an idea.. Could you use the pipe insulation to protect all the edges and corners against any damage while painting/transporting? 
  • not until it's completely dry. Flat blocks of Styrofoam in a box would be better. but where can you get a pizza box that big?
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    For travel, it's just going to lay in the trunk of the car.  Probably on a blanket.
  • @PaulB said: "I'm always looking for decaying architecture in artistic light."

    Try Giza.
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Every day it gets harder to get the lid off the liquin bottle.  I'm not weak or arthritic, but I really struggle with this bastard.  I can't imagine how bad it is for someone with joint pain.

    Is there such a thing as a replacement lid?  Anyone solved this problem?
  • dencaldencal -
    edited April 2018

    Yep! Remove large dry lumps on screw thread and inside lid with small screwdriver or similar.
    Remove remainder with toweling soaked in alcohol or OMS solvent.
    Habitual wiping of the screw thread will avoid future problems.

    If it’s too far gone to clean, decant remainder to a new screw top.


  • STOP! Paul, handle no screwdrivers, blades or sharp objects till you finish the painting.
  • BOB73

    Chill Bob he is an engineer. Stabbing his hand with a screw driver won’t slow him down any.


  • I have to agree with @Bob73, find a child to help you..
  • We have engineers where I work. I used  to bowl with some of them but not anymore, they call them lefty and three-finger Fred now.
  • Wonderful colors, background, movement and attitude.  What a switch in style!  I like it.
  • Love it! So painterly. Texture, brushwork, composition, colour/value gradation all work great for me. There is something very refined about this.
  • You have unusual talent, Paul. I know we're not supposed to say that, but you have masterfully adapted the Mark Carder technique, and you are able to get your mind around incorporating different styles. I think that's talent.

  • Oh I love this!!!  My favorite part is her sleeve - I'm confused by the garlic? animal skin? bubbles over her shoulder. I wish that was gone - I need to learn to edit myself so I guess that is why I said to take it out completely.  Her silhouette would be beautiful with that thing over her shoulder gone.  I can't believe you're still painting after your marathon!  Great work @PaulB 


  • Julianna said:
    Oh I love this!!!  My favorite part is her sleeve - I'm confused by the garlic? animal skin? bubbles over her shoulder. I wish that was gone - I need to learn to edit myself so I guess that is why I said to take it out completely.  Her silhouette would be beautiful with that thing over her shoulder gone.  I can't believe you're still painting after your marathon!  Great work @PaulB 

    Ha ha @Julianna , it’s a string of brown onions. It’s a bit more defined in the original.
    I love this Paul.

  • I can see what you mean, @Julianna. Still, I don't think the composition would work as well if they weren't there. And it's a sort of abstract element that, to me, makes the painting all  the more interesting. 

    It's also fascinating how different folks see things differently. Just goes to show that there are no absolutes in art. :)
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Julianna said:
    I can't believe you're still painting after your marathon!

    Well, I did take a day off.  And then I did this, because I'm procrastinating finishing the big one, although I should not.
  • Love your Mahl Stick. Mine is currently an old bent curtain rod with duck tape and its great for small paintings but didn't cut it on this last one . LOL I need to up grade. One of the artists I follow on Instagram, Renato Muccillo, posted this video on how he makes his stick. This will be the pinnacle of my woodworking skills. lol Hope the link works. 
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    I found this, which I plan on using for my version 2:


  • When I get my new easel I will get an EZ Rest like this for $32 from Jerry's
    I have to find $18 worth of other supplies to get the free shipping but I haven't used up any old supplies yet. If I pay for the shipping, as soon as it arrives I will remember something I should have ordered that could put me over the free shipping threshold. They don't have those nice artist paint shirts that @Dencal recommended.
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    BOB73 said:

    I have to find $18 worth of other supplies to get the free shipping ...
    $18?  No problem.  Palette knife, paint wedge, varnish brush, varnish, rollers, rustoleum / primer ...
  • Paul, you forgot safety helmet, boots, gloves and a first aid kit..
  • Paul and Richard, thanks but I already have all that except for the wedges and I have sculpting tools that perform that function. I was thinking of some books but I'm not ready to Give up on DMP method.
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