Do not be an art appreciator

When I hear someone say, “I appreciate art,” I cringe. The speaker means, “I understand that this boring subject is somehow important to you,” or, “I see how much effort you put into this pointless activity.” If you say, “But that’s not me! I really do appreciate art; I visit museums,” I still quarrel with…

Basic oil painting medium

There is a lot of information about painting mediums on my site but if you’re new to painting, an abundance of information is the same as no information. Where to start? The good news is that you can easily have a medium that supports ambitious work and serves as a baseline for exploring other mediums…

Turn toward realism?

Realism is becoming popular once again in painting studios. This development is welcome but it’s also sobering. Looking at the growing number of realists demonstrates how much has been lost. Much of it is Impressionism-adjacent which is not a good path. And for many new realists, Sargent has an oversize influence, which is also a…

How to save your brushes

Many oil painters keep their brushes upside down in turpentine or thinner. This practice is horrible; it’s the worst thing you can do to your brushes. In defense of painters who do this, I used to do the same thing because it’s what I was taught. I was taught that concern for my kit was…

Rublev Sun-thickened oil

Rublev’s new version of sun-thickened oil is much improved from its earlier offering and is good oil. This is far different from my conclusion of their first attempt at this product. Sun-thickened oil’s consistency should be similar to that of stand oil. Rublev’s first attempt produced an oil little different from regular linseed oil. With…

Good art books: David to Delacroix, The Rise of Romantic Mythology

Dorothy Johnson has written several books related to David and the Neoclassicists. David to Delacroix: The Rise of Romantic Mythology is probably her best work. I think about this little book a lot. Even though the Neoclassicists are best known for their Classically-inspired history paintings, Johnson reminds us that it was under their brush that…

A bit of drawing

For the past week or so, I’ve worked exclusively on drawings. More precisely, designs for paintings, as the one illustrated below. These design-focused drawings will be covered by paint. The one illustrated here is the smallest painting of the current crop. The others are 40″ x 54″ and bigger. This means that I can spend…

Good brush deal

I bought a brush set from Fuumuui: 8-piece kolinsky sable watercolor brushes. This is a tremendous bargain at $21.99 on Amazon. I used the brushes on one of my oil paintings and they performed passably much to my surprise. I expect they’ll fall apart quickly under the abuse of oil painting with its strong solvents.…

RIP faithful laptop

My 10-year-old Dell XPS laptop finally died. With its core i7, it was pretty hot back in 2013. I replaced its Windows OS with Linux some years ago and it was still performing acceptably. There were issues, of course. I prefer lightweight devices these days but the XPS is on the beefy side, which means…

Titanium white sucks

I take back all the nice things I said about titanium white. I was never a fan of titanium white but after trying some of Michael Hading’s versions of the color, warm white and unbleached white, I decided to give it another chance. My preferred white, flake white, is orders of magnitude more expensive than…

My red box

I keep my oils in two cabinets. Here is the red drawer. I hate running out of things while I work–it’s a mania. Painting is like taking a journey and I don’t want the journey to end prematurely. That’s one reason I have a lot of paint. I also test and review brands, brands that…

What happened to Kremer pigments?

The Germany-based art supplier Kremer was the best source for hard-to-find items not long ago. Now? It’s impossible to complete orders online, not difficult–impossible. I recently attempted to place an online order with Kremer’s U.S. location. The order contained two items that Kremer flagged with special handling requirements. One of the items is black oil…

Brush graveyard

My brush graveyard is getting too big. I throw out most of my worn-out brushes. I’ve also been known to snap in two misbehaving brushes. Those I also throw out. But my favorites I inter into the graveyard after distinguished service. I started pruning the graveyard to make room. Having a lot of brushes extends…