Monday, August 3, 2015

Art Nerd; Check Out This Great Art Website

Featured Art Website:

Got Art? This website sports what's hot in 5 cities! 
Art Nerd  City Guides: New York · Chicago · Los Angeles · San Francisco · Seattle
Founded by Lori Zimmer, Art Nerd New York has piles of eye candy for artists and art lovers.  
Why (one of my) favorite Art Nerd features is ON THE INSIDE TIP: Studio Visits;  I love seeing what other working artists are doing now!
And check out Lori's new book The Art of Cardboard: Big Ideas for Creativity, Collaboration, Storytelling and Reuse It's 160 pages of cardboard heaven and looks totally irresistible (I couldn't).  And if you hurry, you may still be able to get a signed copy!!    

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Wedding Party

Wedding Party Painting

Wedding Party was completed after many layers of oil paint using glaze technique.  From the series about marriage.  Below is of unframed diptych.

Wedding Party, 12" x 24" x 1/4", oil on masonite, © 2013 julie susanne

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Oil Painting Mediums; Linseed Oils part 2

Why Use Oil as an Oil Painting Medium

Oil paints in their purest form are made with ground pigment and oil.  Therefore oil is a superb and highly compatible medium.though oil paint can be used directly out of the tube as is (and this is a fine way to paint), there are numerous oil mediums that oil painters can use.  This post discusses the difference between the various types of linseed oil.

What is the Difference Between Types of Linseed Oil

Through their manufacturing methods, the properties of linseed oils can be manipulated : Thickness, Color, Drying Time, Handling and Paint Film Strength.  Choosing a form of linseed oil depends on the desired use.

Linseed Oil

Linseed Oil is produced from the seed of the flax plant.  It dries slowly by oxidation and remains workable or "open" for a long time.  This can be very beneficial to the oil painter.  Once it is dry it can not be reversed.  Linseed oil is an excellent paint binder and medium, and excellent drier forming a strong paint film.  Straight linseed oil as your medium is a time honored choice.  Use less oil in layers closest to canvas and use more oil in the top layers.

Cold-Pressed Linseed Oil

Cold-pressed linseed oil is linseed oil in it's purest state.  Raw flax seeds or linseeds are crushed without the use of heat.  Because this is a low yield process, Cold-pressed linseed oil is a more expensive form of linseed oil.  Although there is some debate, paints made with cold pressed linseed oil are thought to have superior film strength, handling and brilliance to paints made with refined oils.

Alkali Refined Linseed Oil

Flax seeds are processed with use of heat via steam.  The heated seed are pressed and linseed and waste products are produced.  These waste products called mucilage or foots are removed through a refining process.  Sulfuric acid is used to treat the steam-treated, pressed linseed oil which destroys the waste products.  The acid is then neutralized with an alkali.  This alkali-refined linseed oil is a neutral, acid free oil and is is an inexpensive alternative to cold pressed linseed oil.  Less expensive high quality paints with high pigment content can be made with alkali-refined linseed oil.

Refined Linseed Oil

This is the same as alkali refined linseed oil.

Steam Pressed Linseed Oil

This is also the same as alkali refined linseed oil.

Sun-Thickened Linseed Oil

Sun-thickened linseed oil is the choice for using linseed oil as a painting medium during the painting process.  Sun-thickened linseed oil is made by mixing equal amounts of linseed oil and water and then left exposed to sunlight for several weeks.  Exposure to the sun lightens the oil by bleaching and partially oxidizes the oil.  Better results are obtained using this thicker bodied form;  It is a superb viscous medium that leaves texture and brushstrokes on the canvas and because it is partially oxidized and is therefore a faster drier than either cold-pressed or alkali refined linseed oil.  The lighter color and partial oxidation is also thought to reduce the yellowing of paint later compared to cold-pressed linseed oil and alkali-refined linseed oil.

Stand Oil

Similar to sun-thickened linseed oil, stand oil uses heat to create a bodied medium.  Linseed oil is heated at 550° F for at least 12 hours in an airtight oxygen-free container.  This causes the stand oil to polymerize rather than oxidize due to the absence of oxygen.  The result is a viscous medium that does not leave texture or brushstrokes and is superb for used when glazing.  It has a very strong paint film that resists cracking when dry.  I love to use stand oil in my glazing recipe that is damar varnish, stand oil, and mineral spirits.

Superb Oil Paint Medium Technique Using Linseed Oil

  1. With paint thinned with mineral spirits (or turpentine) paint first layer onto gessoed canvas or panel and let dry if desired.
  2. With paint straight from tube or lightly thinned with stand oil or sun-thickened linseed oil, paint next layers and let dry if desired.
  3. With paint thinned only with stand oil or sun-thickened linseed oil, paint final layers.
The above method generally not only maintains a "Fat over Lean" concept but also allows a full bodied layered painting technique improving depth and textural brilliance.  This method dries faster than using regular linseed oils, but still dries slowly.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Best Oil Paint Glaze for a Smooth Surface

Oil Painting Glaze Ingredients
Damar Varnish: Linseed Stand Oil: Mineral Spirits
My favorite glaze for oil painting is Damar Varnish: Linseed Stand Oil: Mineral Spirits* in a  1:1:1 ratio. This is a very high quality clear glaze that creates a strong paint film.  This homemade glaze is mixed in a very small quantity:  I put equal parts in a 1 oz glass jar with a screw top lid and shake it up.  I usually make a small amount at a time, because it does thicken up a bit over time.  I do not dip into the jar, but pour it out into my paint mixing container.   Treated this way, it will last weeks in a tightly lidded jar.

This glaze mixture is said to dry relatively quickly. I find that it takes several days in my humid climate. Even though reworking the painting can occur early in initial painting session of a new glaze layer, the painting does not remain 'open' beyond this first day as this glaze becomes increasingly tacky during the drying period. That being said, there is a much longer open period compared to Liquin glaze.

This is perfect glaze for using on panels or other smooth rigid supports.  I also like to use it on canvas.  I use this formula of glaze when I want an extremely smooth surface without much in the way of texture or brushstrokes.
Many of my paintings are layer upon layer upon layer....of glazes and transparent or semi-transparent paints.  This glaze is perfect for this style of multi-layered painting.  The end result is a finish that has a slight sheen, but not a high gloss finish.
*The Brands I use: Richeson Damar Varnish, Maimeri Stand  Linseed Oil, Gamblin Gamsol 100% Odorless Mineral Spirits.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Going to the Chapel

Going to the Chapel- A Painting

Going to the Chapel from the series about marriage.
In the final stage foggy mist was added.  See the pre-mist version here.

Going to the Chapel

10" x 30" x 1"
oil on canvas
© 2013 by julie susanne

Detail of Going to the Chapel.

Bride with bouquet.

Again, the albatross.

Skull and stone pathway.

Chapel and hooded figures.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

How To Paint

Learn To Paint 

Swami Muktananda

The mecahanics of painting can be learned from classes, books and master artists.  This is information.  Incorporation of this information into your painting life leads to knowledge.  Your experience with the act of painting deepens this knowledge.  But how do you get to the place of wisdom and the place of creating really, really great art? 

Painting From Your Core

By "painting from your core"  I mean from the center of your being.  I mean being in the moment.  This is very different than doing.  It requires a spiritual approach in which the attention is inward turned.  The attention is turned inward away from the outer manifestations of the mind thoughts.  I believe this requires a specialized teacher.

Painting Using Your Inner Light

It is often said that when you are painting, you are "painting the light."  I want to suggest you take it further and use inner light to paint.  Again this requires a spiritual approach it is an internal process of painting from your Heart. 

This also requires a teacher as few of us were born knowing how to do this.  My teacher is Rohini Ralby.  Her new book Walking Home with Baba: The Heart of Spiritual Practice can help guide you to that wisdom.  She talks about why we need a teacher on her blog.  She addresses finding a teacher with an authentic spiritual lineage.

Painting can be cutting, pasting, repackaging and selling.  Alternatively, you can paint as a spiritual practice and truly unleash your creativity.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Oil Painting Mediums part 1

Oil Painting Mediums part 1

Oil paint can be used directly out of the tube as is.  And this is a fine way to paint.  Paint with the paint; clean the brush. The end.  With this method of using no medium, paying attention to oil content of paint may be important to preventing cracking- use most oil laden paint (which is slower drying) on upper layers: "Fat over Lean."

Linseed Oil

Alternatively use straight linseed oil as your medium, using less oil in layers closest to canvas and use more oil in the top layers...again "Fat over Lean."  More Oil (more fat) = More Drying Time!


Turpentine a solvent can be used to thin paint- it dries quickly and is best used for first layers or blocking in a painting; a very lean layer of oil paint.

I previously used pure gum turpentine for thinning and cleaning brushes.  It had a sweet strong odor.  Now I can no longer find this, either in hardware store or art supply store.  Yes, "pure gum turpentine" can still be purchased, but it is different...way different.  It has a foul, dead animal smell that I find terribly offensive.  I don't use it anymore.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral Spirits is a solvent that can be used in place of turpentine.  As with turpentine, paint thinned with mineral spirits makes for a leaner layer than paint right out of the tube.  I have used Gamsol 100% Pure Odorless Mineral Spirits as well as Kleen Strip Odorless Mineral Spirits from my local hardware store.  I do not notice a difference between these two.  Use mineral spirits for thinning oil colors, modifying other painting mediums, and studio clean up.  Less Oil (less fat or lean) = less drying time.

Simplest Oil Paint Medium Technique

  1. With paint thinned with mineral spirits (or turpentine) paint first layer onto gessoed canvas and let dry if desired.
  2. With paint straight from tube or lightly thinned with oil (such as linseed oil) paint next layers and let dry if desired.
  3. With paint thinned only with oil paint final layers .
The above method generally not only maintains a "Fat over Lean" concept but also allows a layered painting technique improving depth and luminosity. 


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