About Midnight last night I completed my first foray into water mixable oil paints, in particular Lukas Berlin paints. My “studio” is presently a garage with little to no ventilation and no good means of adding any so standard oil paints and traditional thinners/solvents are quite out of the question. Plus, the idea of being able to clean up with little more than water, oil, and soap is very attractive. They have a longer drying time than Acrylics, which is nice for somethings but kind of annoying for others. In particular, I now have to figure out where the heck to keep this thing until it drys completely!
Overall, I think the paints are an interesting alternative to Acrylics. I also have the distinct impression that the small tubes of Berlin paint will go a good deal further than a similar sized acrylic tube. If you decide to play with them, make sure to pick up a bottle of Lukas’ modified water mixable linseed oil to go along with your set. They say that you can use water to thin the paints, which is true, but everything I’ve read seems to indicate that water thinning can be a hit or miss prospect. The modified linseed oil seems to do the trick quite well though!
On to the good part! This painting started I shot by Sandie Bell over on Paint My Photo as a reference. If you’re a photographer or an artist I’d recommend giving the site a chance. They have a large collection of royalty free photos for use as reference material for physical medium artwork (i.e. paint, pencils, pastels, etc. but no digital stuff). You need an account to login and see the reference, but they’re free and I haven’t run into anything overly obnoxious with the site as yet.
The painting itself took me three sessions to complete. My schedule allows for two to three hours in a late evening session during the week. Since the last session was a Friday night, I’ve probably got about eight-ish hours in the painting itself.
I did the base drawing by tracing over an enlarged printout of the photo with some carbon paper underneath. That gave me some very light lines to start with that I went over with white charcoal pencil to make them more visible. My tendency to write with an extremely light touch and a dark canvas left them almost invisible otherwise. That first night I had a good handle on the blacks (all chromatic), shoreline, water, and the main boat in the center.
The second night, I finished off five of the other boats and did a little rework of the water and shoreline in the background. This is where I discovered that the Berlin paints become touch dry amazingly fast. From what I’ve been told, I was expecting them to still be pretty “damp” but it turns out they were too dry to work on their own. A little extra medium (modified linseed oil) and paint seemed to do the trick though. As a note, it was only the paints on the canvas that were dry, the stuff on my palette was still pretty workable.
And here it is, finished! I had a little trouble with some of the thinner paint globs on my palette being drying this time. Of course, I wasn’t doing anything special to keep them from drying out so that is probably to be expected. Since this was on a stretched canvas rather than a canvas board, I took all the left over paint and mixed up a big glob of “palette mud” and used it as an edge cover. Unfortunately, no I have to protect the thing for the three months or so it takes for the paint to cure enough to varnish. Which is why I’ll probably be doing acrylics for a while, at least until I can come up with a good strategy for dealing with drying oil paintings.
On other notes, TEM is coming along nicely. I’ve been working with a beta reader I ran into over on Good Reads doing a manuscript exchange. So far, we’re about half way through both works and well on the way to getting this editing cycle finished. There’s also a scheduled beta read with a professional editor (Silvia’s Reading Corner) that should provide some valuable insights as well. If all of that goes well, then it’s on to figuring out a more formalized publishing strategy. So, still a ways out, making progress!Painting, The Erasable Man, Writings - Fiction