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“To live a creative life, we must lose
our fear of being wrong.” — Joseph Chilton Pearce
Studio Tech 3
My oil brushes are Winsor & Newton Monarch flats and Filberts, sizes 0 through 12. I’ve recently tried some Princeton Art & Brush Co. short filberts and they’re quite nice. For scrubbing in larger areas of background color I use old large Langnickel Series 404 filberts that can really take a beating. I also use a lot of cotton rags (old white bed sheets make great rags) and always have one in my left hand — I’m actually right-handed — as I paint ready to wipe out lighter areas. Watercolor brushes include Winsor & Newton Series 7 Sable sizes 12 through 2, Grumbacher No. 6142 Sable 3/4- and 1/2-inch flats, and a 1 1/2-inch Strathmore Series 386 Wash brush. I also use bristle oil brushes for scrubbing out and textural effects along with an Incredible Nib. My watercolor paper of choice is Arche 300lb coldpress which never warps and can really take a beating. Saunders Waterford 300lb is very nice also.
Not enough time for plein air painting
Although I consider myself a studio painter, I also enjoy painting out of doors (en plein air) and find that it significantly adds to my ability to translate my source material to canvas. In fact there is no greater feeling of accomplishment for me than to successfully complete a small panel outdoors and take home a winner. But that is rare, so here’s why I don’t do more painting out of doors: 1. I am just not very good at painting en plein air 2. My favorite times of the day to paint outdoors are early morning and late afternoon (the best light and shadows). An outdoor painting session can last a good 2 - 3 hours, not including getting to the destination. It takes a full half day commitment to plan and execute a decent field study and unfortunately I am just not able to get out often enough and paint at those times of the day because of parental obligations and/or commercial deadlines. 3. The incidences of deadly forms of melanoma (skin cancer) is rising dramatically around the world. I just don't trust being exposed to full sun for 2 or 3 hours at a time even wearing SPF 30 sunblock.
That said, when I CAN get out to paint in the field I use an Easy L Versa horizontal pochade box, tripod, and umbrella from Artwork Essentials. I modified the inside of the box by fitting a piece of photo-gray matte board to the bottom over which a piece of 3/16-inch glass has been fitted and caulked with clear solvent-resistant caulking. This makes nice large mixing area and perfectly mimics the ergonomics of my studio set-up. My field palette varies, but usually includes Cadmium Yellow Medium (Rembrandt); Cadmium Orange (Winsor newton); Fanchon (Napthol) Red (Williamsburg); Perylene Crimson (Williamsburg); Burnt Sienna Deep (Blockx); Viridian (Williamsburg); Ultramarine Blue French (Williamsburg); Indigo (Williamsburg) and Titanium Zinc White (Gamblin). I don’t use any medium when painting outdoors and keep my OMS in an 8oz. Anderson Stainless Steel Airtight Brush Washer.
For painting outdoors in watercolor I use a Weber Italia XG portable watercolor easel. This is a very nice easel but has a serious design flaw that warrants immediate attention. The mechanism that attaches the tray that supports the watercolor paper to the tripod is made out of a cheap plastic and is easily broken. I had a local machine shop create replacement parts machined out of solid aluminum that’s far stronger than the original mechanism. I traded a painting for the labor. Outdoors, I use a John Pike palette and a pared down palette of colors from my standard watercolor palette, and take along lots of water and paper towels.
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