13 August 2012

Another Trompe

Oil on hardboard panel 12 x 9 inches

Following on with the 'trompe' theme, I thought I'd get some of the best silver out ...
I gave the panel four coats of acrylic gesso (lightly sanded between each layer) and a final coat of egg emulsion (1:1 egg yolk and water).
I may give the lemons a rest for a while. It may bring on a case of cold turkey but I'll try and resist ;-)

A few words about mediums: I hold my hands up to being a medium freak! I want to try every medium out there that I can get my hands on (some I can't get hold of because of shipping restrictions on flammable objects from the USA).

I have read every treatise on mediums that I can find and I do not seem to be alone in this (even Salvador Dali said he would give his left arm for the secret to Vermeer's medium). So you are not alone ........ yes, I mean you ;-)

I started, as a novice, with simple linseed oil but it dried too slow for me so I was recommended Winsor & Newton's Liquin Original which I have used for the bulk of my paintings. It usually dries over night (faster if the weather is warm) except for ivory black, titanium white and the cadmium yellows. The earth colours dry fastest. It's a good all round medium but I found it a bit too 'greasy' for wet in wet painting so I went on the hunt for the perfect all round medium (yes, it's a holy grail kind of thing and about as likely to be solved).

The next step was a mixture of stand oil and pure gum turpentine (1:1) and this was great for wet in wet and glazing but took too long to dry (I like to get painting the next day). So I started adding cobalt driers (a few drops with a pipette to each days medium) and that dried overnight. Unfortunately this makes the medium darker (you don't notice it when you mix it with the paint) and it also highly toxic and I am a terror for biting the ends of my brushes!!!!! 

Then I read about the 'magical' Maroger medium which was formulated by  Jacques Maroger who was a painter and the technical director of the Louvre Museum's laboratory in Paris. He reckoned that this was one of the 'lost' mediums used by the old masters (but there seem to be hundreds of variations of resins, oils, emulsions, etc. that the old masters used).
This, again, is highly toxic as it uses lead oxide as part of the base and making it yourself involves 'cooking' the ingredients (a recipe for disaster for someone like myself), so I decided to buy a ready made brand which I managed to get from the US at enormous cost (it's very expensive).
I couldn't wait to get my hands on it expecting wonderous results but was greatly disappointed when I found it not much better than Liquin (maybe it was the brand but at $45 for a 5oz tube - before post - I was expecting more).

Did I say 'a few words ...' way back there? I hope you're sitting comfortably!

I have tried walnut oil/Venetian turpentine/gum turpentine mixes (I even 'washed' and sun treated my walnut oil until it was a lot lighter than linseed oil), if it was good enough for DaVinci .......
This was a nice mix but slow drying (apparently walnut doesn't yellow as much as linseed) and sometime I had problems with 'beading' when glazing over areas that were heavy on white in the mix. It was also a little too shiny and enamel like after a few glazes.

James C. Groves makes some excellent traditional resin mediums/varnish that I liked and M.Graham's Walnut Alkyd Medium was also good but didn't dry fast enough for me.

At the moment I am using Gamblin's Galkyd Lite (tried their Galkyd and Neo Megilp but this is the one I prefer of the three). This painting was done with the Galky Lite.

I could waffle on about other mediums but I'll leave it here for now.

After word: This is purely about my experience with mediums for my painting style, some artists use no medium at all and I'm sure there are countless other variations for other painting styles.