The above painting will be participating in a group show that opens this Friday at the 33 Contemporary Gallery in the Zhou Art Center in Chicago. The Chronicles of a Future Foretold is a Poets & Artists exhibition curated by Samuel Peralta. The selection of work explores where figurative art intersects with prevalent themes found in science fiction.
For more information about the show the link is here.
To order a copy of the Poets & Artists publication the link is here.
Artists, especially oil painters, love to talk shop.
Nothing is perhaps more controversial as the discussion of the ‘proper’ medium. It is often seen as the ‘secret’ ingredient’ in achieving the quality of the Old Masters. A good painter needs quality materials to express himself/herself properly. However, no medium is an elixir for creating a good painting.
The purpose of any oil painting medium is to adjust the handling properties of the paints to achieve specific effects. It is an important element that works in unison with the proper paints, ground, brushes, environment, etc. The alteration of one of these ingredients can negate the beneficial properties of the others. Only through experience and experimentation does a properly skilled painter arrive at a satisfactory result.
Most research into oil painting mediums, past and present, is focused on recreating the recipes used by the Old Masters of the 17th century. Their common denominator is that they are of a oleoresinous nature, meaning that they consist of a drying oil and a resin varnish. The genesis of this idea is found in the DeMayrne manuscript and is being confirmed with recent restoration documents.
I have studied and experimented in depth with Megilp. There are lots of different methods of preparing the oils and varnishes. Over the last 10 years I have tried many different recipes that I discovered in different written sources from the 17th century and after. In the end I found that properly cleaned cold pressed oil and a limited cooking with litharge produced the best drying oil. The best varnish should also be aged at least 6 months. The resulting medium is a blond gel. This is fundamentally different in philosophy than Maroger with its ‘black oil.’
As a medium, the version of Megilp that I have come up with functions quite well. Adapted for portraiture, it has good handling properties. It stays workable for several hours before setting up(perfect for those working from life). It dries completely overnight(with the proper pigments and ground). Certain painters are enamored with the fact that it is a ‘thixotropic’ gel. That aspect is certainly ‘cool’ but has little relevance with practicalities of good oil painting. Good impastos are not achieved with gel mediums. One disadvantage of this megilp is that it has limited fusion window for blurring(as opposed to a medium with a balsam).
Here are images of paintings that I did with my version of the Megilp about 15 years ago. They were both painted on lead primed linen that I prepared myself and a hand ground limited palette of historical pigments. Neither picture has been varnished. The Study of Florence was painted in 4-6 sittings. She has been constantly displayed(exposed to light) and never removed from the stretchers.
My Self Portrait study was painted in a couple of sessions(never completed) and subsequently removed from the stretchers and rolled. Once a year I unroll the painting to check its condition. As you can see the darks have sunk in but there is no yellowing or cracking in the picture film.
I will be organizing ongoing fresco painting courses and private lessons in Florence, Italy. Students will learn about one of the most durable mediums for painting: fresco. The full process will be explored including: the preparation of the support, colors and cartoon. Taking advantage of the unique abundance of fresco painting in Florence, site visits to various chapels, churches and museums will enlighten the student to the aesthetic possibilities offered by this wonderful medium.
Please email me for more information or fill out the contact form below:
Drawing of Jon, graphite on paper, 15cm x 20cm
Support panel with rough coat of plaster.
Application of ‘intonico’
Image transferred via ‘incisione’ method to the finished ‘intonico’ and ‘velo’ coats
I am very pleased to share that my painting “The Young Architect” has been included in the #93 Eros Gaze publication of Poets Artists Magazine. It is a wonderful mix of literary and visual metaphor created by Didi Menendez. Print issues of the Eros Gaze are available via Blurb at the following link here.
The Oak Park Art League’s 97th Annual Artist Member Exhibition opened on April 13th and runs until May 4th. My painting of Rhapso is participating. For more information the OPAL website is here. The facebook page is here.
I have a variety of works available at the Michael LaConte Gallery via 1st Dibs. There are drawings, paintings and sculptures. Please follow the link here to see more. Both above and below are a selection of the pieces.
The Trickster, oil on linen, 70cm x 90cm. Awarded 1st place at the Oak Park Art League’s Artist Member’s show.
Several times a year, I have the pleasure to teach figure drawing and artistic anatomy to the beginning and intermediate students at Charles Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy.
A competent knowledge of human anatomy is fundamental for successfully incorporating the figure into one’s work. My personal approach to teaching this is simultaneously develop observation skills while familiarize the to student with underlying structure through the creation of graphic overlays.
The class begins with a drawing is created over a series of sessions from a model. Once the drawings are at a certain level overlays of the skeleton and muscle groups are created. In addition to the model, a skeleton and Paul Richer’s Artistic Anatomy aid the student in the development of work.
The images above and below are the examples I created during the class.