January 22, 2011

The Value of a Study

Patio Party (oil study on panel, 8 x 10)

While Great-Grandmother is resting in the studio, I am working on several other pieces and working with an entirely new process. Well, new for me. I've been at this oil painting thing for many years but I have never found my personal perfect setup. Whether oils or pastels (or any medium for that matter), the tallest hurdle for me seems to be the substrate. If that's not right, nothing is right. So that is what I have spent the past few years working on with my oils. You name it, I have probably painted on it. I think I have it now and as much as I resisted making my own panels, that's what it has taken for me to get to this next step.

My resistance to making my own panels was mostly about the time it would take away from my easel. That's pretty much how I measure everything but I admit that once I forced myself (out of desperation) to make my own panels, I actually treasure each one more than if I had just picked it off a shelf. I feel more bonded to the art piece as a whole, too, which is an added benefit I had not anticipated. I'm serious. After putting 8 coats of gesso on these puppies and sanding in between each one, I feel like I should name them. Each coat is applied in the opposite direction of the previous coat which, upon close inspection, gives a nice cross-grain affect to the final board. If you click on the image below, you should be able to see what I am referring to.

So, now I am thinking I can get on with the painting part. I have only gotten as far as the value studies because I enjoy them so much I don't really want to go further. But, I will...just not with this one. My next step will be to apply multiple glazes to well-developed value studies. I am equiped with an arsenal of options to try on this new surface; Neo Megilp, Galkyd, Galkyd Lite, Liquin Light and Stand oil and each seems to have its own advantages and disadvantages. Do you have a favorite? If so I would love to know which is your favorite and why.



  1. it's great that you've found the thing that will get you in your stride. Making your own panels does sound like a lot of work - I know I would have resisted doing that too! But sounds like your mind is now freer to create - good job!

  2. Wonderful post! Beautiful painting!

  3. Hi Sandy, I haven't been by in a while. I hope your Great-Grandmother painting is coming along nicely for you. What a cool honor.

    Wow! You make your own panels? You rock! I like the cross-grain effect. It almost looks like canvas texture - only more organic. Cool.


  4. You never fail to amaze! There is so much life in that cat that I almost want to stroke it :0D

  5. Love your cat- - -its so simple, yet expressive!
    Love your blog!

  6. 8 coats of gesso? I have not gotten beyond 5! BTW have you tried Maroger medium? I can't get it in Ireland and I wonder if it's worth the effort to smuggle it in!

  7. Deborah, Thanks so much for stopping by; I appreciate your encouragement.

    hmuxo, aw, thanks so much!

    Don, She is behaving quite well for a 142 year-old :) I am pretty stoked about the panels. I would be even more so if I could get someone else to make them (hahaha!).

    Sandra, Thanks - what a sweet comment.

    Ida, thank you!

    Oldenbroke: Yes, crazy isn't it? I did try Maroger years ago but quite honestly I wasn't as "glaze" centered as I am now so I don't feel I can give you an honest opinion about it. I know mediums can be such a personal thing but I have heard that others who like that also like Neo Megilp by Gamblin. Have you tried that?