Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jacobs Point-August

I'm going to be posting my way through a small backlog of completed paintings, while getting set up (mentally and equipment-wise) to resume my daily oil exercises. This one is the most recent completed landscape, again Jacobs Point. I miss warm weather.

This one was painted on a really rough-woven hemp canvas from I love painting on heavy canvas, but my slightly frugal soul rebels at paying upwards of $70 US per yard for linen. Hemp canvas is nearly as strong as linen and is only about $15 US per yard. Its staple, or average fiber length, is about 20 cm as opposed to linen's 25-150 cm. Cotton, by contrast, maxes out at about 6 cm. Supposedly Titian liked hemp canvas for his larger works and I'm happy to follow in those footsteps. I prefer to mount my canvas on board in any case, since I tend to abuse the canvas and really dislike it if it gets flabby during the painting process.

This was also the first larger piece I've painted using the linseed oil/chalk medium that I've come to favor. I'd read about it from several sources, notably Francisco Pacheco's "Art of Painting", but it's gone into pretty thoroughly on Tad Spurgeon's site. Even though I've got a larger, airier studio now I still prefer to paint without stinking up the joint, and the medium also does such wonderful things to the paint that I'd favor it in any case. Basically, it's just a mixture of linseed oil and powdered chalk or marble, and you can vary the quantities to vary the thickness and flow. It also adds a stringiness to the paint that I love, similar to the behavior of white lead. Add to that the fact that its translucency allows for some delightful color effects and I'm hooked. Of course, it works best with linseed oil that you've refined yourself. Yes, I'm geeky enough to refine my own linseed oil now. Honest, it's better. Really.

These trees form a nearly straight line out toward the end of Jacobs Point. I assume they rooted in that way because of a ridge of drier land, perhaps originally a sand bar. I've got reference photos of them in all weather, including a notable day when I had to wade out in a Winter floodtide to take the pictures (no outdoor sketching that day). Standing near knee-deep in brackish water with a thin rime of ice on top was a bit of a trial, but I found that if I stayed reasonably still, the water that had overflowed the tops of my boots warmed up nicely. That was the day I resolved to buy a good pair of tall neoprene hunting boots, suitable for long walks in low temperatures and waterproof to their tops. Mine are by Kamik and very, very toasty.

No comments:

Post a Comment