Friday, December 31, 2010

Art Marketing Salon

Free Art Marketing Info

Marketing our art can be challenging when we feel we are going it alone.  Banding with a group of fellow artists can make the task feel less like work and more do-able, however.  Although there are numerous ways to achieve this, one of the most traditional and under utilized may be the art salon.

As you know, I am a fan of Alyson Stanfield and her art marketing book, I'd rather be in the studio!.  She also provides loads of information on her blog, Art Biz Blog.  I have found yet another resource that Ms. Stanfield has generously made available to artists at no charge.   It is her plan for creating your own >Art Marketing Salon.

Stanfield asks, "Artists: Does trying to promote your artwork have you feeling alone, frustrated, or unmotivated?"  She then offers a solution free of charge.  On Stanfield's >artbizconnection website you will find a structured step by step outline on how to create and run an art marketing salon.  Furthermore, she offers additional resources to art salons who choose to register as an Art Biz Connection Salon.  Yep, It's really free.

Please add your comments, questions, tips by clicking 'comments,' below.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Censorship of the Arts

Historically censorship vs. freedom of expression has been a central theme of debate in the United States of America.  It seems to me that censorship as a "solution" to the "problem" of controversy is occurring with greater and greater frequency.

Most recently, a four-minute edited version of  A Fire in My Belly, a 1987 video by the late David Wojnarowicz,  being shown at the National Portrait Gallery  as part of the Hide/Seek, Difference and Desire in American Portraiture3 exhibit was the object of controversy.8    

According to a statement published by the Smithsonian, a "short segment" in the A Fire in My Belly video- "...created as a complex metaphor for AIDS—was perceived by some to be anti-Christian." 5  According to a Washington Post Article, U.S. House Rep. James P. Moran  believes that 11 seconds of video is being used by right wing critics for political gain.2  Thirty days after the exhibition opening and after threats of loss of funding from congress persons, the piece was removed from the exhibit on November 30, 2010.4  A silent protest march, organized by the Washington D.C. based non-profit, Transformer, was called for December 2nd in which protesters displayed 'masks' taken from the film, Silence = Death; 6 a still from that Wojnarowicz film can be seen on the blog BmoreArt.1  

Transformer's official response also included publicly screening the Wojnarowicz' video removed from the Hide/Seek exhibit.7  The end result was that instead of the video being "optionally accessed by visitors on a small touch screen in the exhibition"4 (per a Smithsonian Q&A Regarding the "Hide/Seek" Exhibition document) inside the National Portrait Gallery, it was played in a continuous loop in a storefront window at the Transformer project space in Washington, DC.  Additionally, the 4-minute segment, containing the 11-second controversy from the 30-minute video A Fire in My Belly, can now be seen freely on the Internet: A Fire in My Belly on YouTube.9 
The obvious question: what is the goal of censorship in general and in this instance was that goal achieved?

Please post your contribution by clicking 'comments' below.

"Censor." Def. 1., Def. 2. Websters Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language. 1996. Print.
1. Bmoreart. “Join Transformer tonight in a silent protest!” Web. 2 Dec. 2010. < >

2. Dawson, Jessica. “Transformer letter to Smithsonian decries artwork's removal.” The Washington Post. 3 December 2010: n. pag. Web. 5 Dec. 2010. < >

3. National Portrait Gallery. Smithsonian Institution. Home page. Web. 14 Dec. 2010. < http: >

4. National Portrait Gallery. “Smithsonian Q&A Regarding the "Hide/Seek" Exhibition.” Smithsonian Institution, 2010. Web. 14 Dec. 2010. < >

5. National Portrait Gallery. “Smithsonian Stands Firmly Behind "Hide/Seek" Exhibition.” Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Smithsonian Institution, 2010. Web. 14 Dec. 2010. < >

6. Transformer. Home page. Web. 5 Dec. 2010. < http: >

7. Transformer. “Transformer Provides Immediate Response to Recent Censorship.” Web. 2 Dec. 2010. < >

8. Wojnarowicz, David.“ Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 2010. Web. 15 Dec 2010. < >

9. Youtube. Fire in My Belly by David Wojnarowicz, Diamanda Galas. Web. 15 Dec. 2010. < http: verify_age?next_url="http%3A// >

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Photograph That Painting!

Taking Digital Photos of an Unfinished Painting

I photograph my paintings throughout the painting process. This allows me to see things I may be overlooking while I am engaged in putting paint on the canvas. It also documents aspects of my painting process I may want to refer to later.

 Oil Painting Error is Revealed

The detail photos below are from a work in progress:

Wave Detail 1 Blocked In

The two photos of this first detail  are taken several months apart.  Initially the shape is blocked in and then many layers of glaze are applied. 

Wave  Detail 1

In the second photo above, I can see that the sky area above the box is blotchy.  This was not my intention and something I noticed more easily in the photo.  This is an example of how photographing my painting process helps me. 

The photos that follow are of another area of the same painting.

Wave Detail 2 Blocked In

These remaining photos show Detail 2 throughout many months of the painting process.  Again, much glazing and scumbling has been done.

Wave Detail 2
In the next post I will show successive shots of the entire painting from which these detail photos are derived.

Please post your suggestion or remark by clicking 'comments' below.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

White Oil Paint, Final Layers

Preventing Cracking in Oil Painting

In a painting, cracking can easily occur when the deep layers and middle layers painted first dry more slowly than the superficial layers painted last.  The paints containing a high amount of oil dry more slowly than paints that contain less oil.  While painting the final layers, continuing to adhere to the “fat over lean” principle, the painter can help prevent cracking paint later.

Fat over Lean, What Does it Mean?

Whether the artist is scumbling, adding highlights or glazing these most superficial (or top) layers, the fattest paint is recommended: that is the paint with the most oil content (compared to the previously painted, deeper underlying layers).  Fat or oil content is relative to the layers in that particular painting. 

Pure White Paint in Final Layers

Zinc white dries more slowly than titanium white which dries more slowly than lead white.  Zinc white, as the slowest drying white paint, is theoretically best suited for final layers.  Although I have not tested this myself, zinc is thought to be unstable as a stand alone paint.*  If pure white is needed, I add a bit of another white, such as titanium white to stabilize the zinc.  Titanium does make the zinc less transparent and more opaque.  If I am glazing and want to maintain or stretch zinc’s transparency, I mix a glaze medium containing turpentine, stand oil, and damar varnish. I have chosen this glaze because it dries much more slowly than a glaze medium such as Windsor Newton Original Liquin.  And I want this last layer to dry the most slowly of all.

Zinc White with Other Pigments

In my opinion, when zinc white is mixed with other paint colors it can be used freely in the last layers of an oil painting.  I believe it becomes more stable as the mixture incorporates the properties of the added paint.  Another note on using zinc white as opposed to titanium or lead:  Zinc affects the chroma of the paint it is mixed with more subtly compared to lead or titanium.  This is illustrated in the photo above in which three different whites are mixed in equal proportions with Gamblin Prussian Blue, a semi-transparent paint.  The zinc mixture on the far right has knocked the chroma down to a lesser extent than the titanium in the middle and the lead or flake white on the far left.   I have also found that the use of zinc, a semi-transparent paint, in a mixture on final layers allows a glow that I have more difficulty achieving with titanium.  Titanium, an opaque paint, can leave a flat chalky quality in some mixtures.  That being said, titanium's covering capacity is superior.

No white paint is the perfect choice in all situations.   By understanding a pigment's properties the painter can elicit desired effects more readily.   For more about the properties of white paint, click here: Lead, Titanium, Zinc Properties.  A white paint can be used in its pure form or can be combined with another white in an infinite number of ratios.  The artist has quite a varied toolbox of whites that can be used in multiple situations depending on the artist's needs.

*, 9/21/10

Please share your experiences with white paints by clicking 'comments' below.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fat Over Lean in Oil Paintings Middle Layers- White Paint

Fat Over Lean
In an earlier post you can find information about the appropriate white paint to use on the initial layers: Leanest White Paints.  The next layers (after the initial layers) in the painting ought to contain a less lean paint or a fatter paint with more oil.  This technique helps prevent cracking over time.

Middle Layer White Oil Paint
Painting over the foundation or underpainting requires pigments that are slower drying than these early layers.  Slower drying is fatter or contains more oil. 
~Titanium white is slower drying than lead white and suitable to use here.  If lead white was used in the early layers, lead plus titanium or just titanium white can be used.  If titanium white is to be used in the early layers, it is advisable to ensure that the first layers are dry before applying the subsequent layers of titanium white or mix a bit of zinc white in to slow down drying of the middle layers.  Also note that titanium white is neither cool nor warm and is generally the brightest white.

Wet Into Wet
~Titanium white can also be used to paint wet into wet.  If one would like to keep the painting open longer, zinc white, which is the slowest drying white can be mixed into the titanium.  Note, however that the zinc is semi transparent and will lessen the covering capacity of the titanium proportionally to the amount of zinc used.  Since titanium white can have a chalky quality, mixing it with another white can decrease this  (lead white for early layers and zinc white for later layers). 
~Zinc white can also be used successfully to paint wet into wet.  Notice, however, that compared to titanium white zinc's  tinting strength is much weaker.  This is an advantage if one wants to use zinc mix subtle hues without knocking down the brightness too far.
Glazing with Oil Paints
When applying transparent or semi-transparent layer(s) the white to use should have the property of semi-transparence.
Example: a palette of transparent pigments such as Prussian Blue, Madder Red, and Hansa Yellow will behave better for glazing when the white used in the glazing palette is semi-transparent.
~ Zinc white is the only semi-transparent white (sometimes listed as semi-opaque) available.
Also, glazing over an area to lighten and lesson color can be done with zinc white or zinc white mixed with a medium. Liquin as the medium will lessen zinc’s slow drying time.  Dick Blick* states that unmixed zinc white may be prone to cracking over time.  Also remember that zinc can lean to the cool side of the palette with a bluish tint.

* July, 6, 2010

Please add to this topic by clicking 'comments' below.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Paint Ingredients: Which White is in the Tube?

I once believed that a tube of oil paint named Titanium White contained only that pigment.  Silly, silly, me!  This is not the case.  Read about the paint labeling inconsistencies: Oil Paint Ingredients.  Read more about choosing white paint: White Paint Ingredients: Lead, Zinc, Titanium.  Below is a list white paint of several popular professional oil paint lines, including the ingredient pigments.  The information is based primarily on the manufacturers' websites. Pigment codes are also noted for clarity.

Blick First press non-yellowing safflower oil.
Exceptions: Cerulean Blue = poppy oil, Ivory Black,
Mars Black and Sepia = linseed oil.

Titanium White: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Zinc White: Zinc oxide(PW4) + Titanium dioxide(PW6)

Blockx Iron oxides, earth pigments, and blacks are ground with linseed oil. All other pigments are ground with poppy seed oil- believed to prevent yellowing and wrinkling.
Historical pigments hand ground with poppy seed oil: Vermilion, Naples yellow light, Naples yellow dark, Lapis Lazuli.

Flake White: Lead White (PW1)
Mixed White: Lead white(PW1) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Titanium White: Titanium dioxide(PW6)
Titanium-Zinc White: Zinc oxide(PW4) + Titanium dioxide(PW6)

DaVinci Linseed based
Titanium White: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Zinc White: Zinc oxide(PW4)

Gamblin Alkali refined linseed oil
Flake White Replacement: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Quick Dry White: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Radiant White: Titanium dioxide(PW6)
Titanium White: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Titanium-Zinc White: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Zinc White: Zinc oxide(PW4)

M. Graham Walnut oil (flows more freely and less tendency to crack or yellow)
Titanium White: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Titanium White Alkyd (rapid dry): Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Zinc White: Zinc oxide(PW4)

Michael Harding Refined cold pressed linseed oil: neutral acidity to ensure permanence
Exceptions: Titanium White 1 = safflower oil Flake White 2 = safflower oil
Cremnitz White: Lead White (PW1)
Cremnitz White (walnut oil): Lead White (PW1)
Flake White No. 1: Lead White (PW1) + Titanium dioxide(PW6) 67/33
Flake White no. 2: Lead white(PW1) + Zinc oxide(PW4) most brilliant/white in Harding line 75/25
Foundation White: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Lead White (PW1) 50/50
Titanium White No. 1: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + zinc oxide (PW4)*
Titanium White no. 2: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW5) *
Titanium White No. 3 (with driers): Titanium dioxide(PW6) + (PW5)*
Zinc White: Zinc oxide(PW4)

Old Holland Cold pressed linseed oil from first pressing:
Old Holland Flake White 1: Lead white(PW1) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Old Holland Cremnitz White: Lead White (PW1)
Old Holland Mixed White 2: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Old Holland Titanium White: Titanium dioxide(PW6)

Rembrandt, Royal Talens
Mixing White: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Pearl White: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Tin oxide(PW15) + Mica(PW20)
Titanium White (linseed): Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Titanium White (safflower): Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Transparent White: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Zinc White (linseed): Zinc oxide(PW4)
Zinc White (safflower): Zinc oxide(PW4)

RGH Alkali refined linseed oil                         
Flake White: Lead White (PW1)
Titanium White: Titanium dioxide(PW6)
Zinc White: Zinc oxide(PW4)

Sennelier Pure, first press non-yellowing safflower oils
Flake White : Lead white(PW1) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Titanium White: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Zinc-Titanium White: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc oxide(PW4)
Zinc White: Zinc oxide(PW4) + Titanium dioxide(PW6)5

Williamsburg Pure, premium, alkali-refined and pH-balanced linseed oil
Williamsburg Zinc White: Zinc oxide(PW4)
Williamsburg Silver White: Lead white(PW1) + Zinc sulphide(PW7)**
Williamsburg Titanium White: Titanium dioxide(PW6)
Williamsburg Titanium-Zinc White: Titanium dioxide(PW6) + Zinc sulphide(PW7)**
Williamsburg Flake White: Lead white(PW1)

Photos are of paints that I have tubed myself.  This is not as difficult as it may seem and saves a great deal of money.  Although I will do a demonstration post on my method at some point, Stapleton Kearns shows us how; click here: Tubing Paint by Stapleton Kearns. 

* Contact manufacturer before purchasing- Website has discrepancy

** Contact manufacturer before purchasing- PW4 may be in use, instead of PW7. 4/28/10 4/28/10 3/3/10 4/28/10 4/28/10 4/28/10 4/28/10 4/28/10 4/28/10 3/3/10 3/3/10 4/28/10

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Oil Painting With Glazes: Glazing A New Work

Below is the latest piece I have begun. At this point there are multiple layers of glaze. Previously glazing has been done exclusively with Liquin Original by Windsor Newton. A friend mentioned that I would probably love stand oil as a glaze. What I am using in this new painting is a 1:1:1 ratio of Damar Varnish: Linseed Stand Oil: Gum Turpentine. This is mixed in a very small quanity and shaken. The paints I am using are primarily transparent and occasionally semi-transparent.  

Work In Progress
Oil on Canvas      
30" x 10" x 0.75" 

I mix these three ingredients in equal parts for glazing. The finish is slightly less glossy than I am used to in a glaze.  I find this especially beneficial when I am working on a very smooth surface. See more about glazing here.

Oil Painting Glaze Mixture

Although 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.

Do any of you have glazing suggestions or comments?  Please post by clicking 'comments' below.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Foundation White Ground & Underpainting White Paints

To provide the best painting foundation, the earliest layers of an oil painting should have specific properties. Of particular importance are low oil content (lean) and high support strength. Whites are some of the leanest paints available. Both lead white and titanium white make strong paints.

Lead White or Flake White (PW1):
Chemical: Lead(II) Carbonate
Use where a lean, opaque, fast drying white is needed.

Titanium White (PW6):
Chemical: Titanium Dioxide

General all purpose white.
Tinting strength very high.
Pure titanium dioxide white may express oil to the surface during drying. 4

Foundation Ground or Foundation White
When preparing a canvas it is desirable to have a strong foundation in the first layers.  Furthermore, the guideline "Fat over Lean" should be used.  This not only helps prevent cracking later, but also gives the fatter layers of paint a lean "underbitten" surface to "bite" into and adhere to. 1   And for convenience sake, a fast drying paint may be desired.  

   ~ Lead white, aka Flake white, has all of these properties:
  • Structurally Strong White with a Tough Flexible Film 1
  • Leanest White
  • Fastest Drying White
  • Opaque
  • Very Good Covering Ability
   ~ Titanium White is a good less-toxic alternative:
  • Structurally, "Less Prone to Cracking" 3
  • Less Lean than Lead White
  • Medium Drying White
  • Opaque
  • Superior Covering Ability
Michael Harding carries a Titanium White with dryers to contend with the slower drying time compared to lead: it is called 'Titanium White no. 3.' 

Maximizing the properties of both lead white and titanium white, some artists use a 50/50 mix of the two for a foundation white.  While I prefer to mix my own, the Michael Harding line does contain a paint with this exact mixture: it is named 'Foundation White.' 5   If you want to mix your own, ensure you are using pure titanium dioxide and pure lead carbonate paints.   Click for more about: White Paint Ingredients.

Underpainting White
The underpainting portion of a picture is one of the earliest layers painted.  An underpainting white with the properties listed above would be most beneficial. 
   ~ Lead white, of course, has all of the properties and "is the most structurally sound white for underpainting" 2 and its "tough stringy texture" 1  makes it ideal for texturizing.

   ~ Titanium White is a less-toxic alternative.

As a final note, zinc white is not appropriate for the early painting layers of an oil painting.  Not only is its transparency and low tinting strength an issue, but also its paint film is too unpredictable for this job. Furthermore, it dries very slowly.

Please post your suggestion or remark by clicking 'comments' below.

1. Creevy, Bill The Oil Painting Book, Materials and techniques for today’s artist, 1994, Watson-Guptill, New York, pp50-51, p144
2. 3/3/10
3. 4/13/10
4. 4/13/10
5. 4/13/10
6. 3/15/10

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lead, Titanium or Zinc White; Which is Best?

Continuing the discussion of white paint available to the oil painter, I will go a little more deeply into the characteristics of individual white pigments. When determining the 'best' white to use, there is no single way to decide this. A white is chosen based on the needs of the artist in that moment. Lead white, titanium white and zinc white vary greatly in their properties: opacity, toxicity, drying time, etc. With such differing properties, I believe it is so essential to determine the actual pigments contained in the white being used regardless of the name of the paint.

Toxicity varies to extremes. If a strict non-toxic palette is desired, titanium white is the choice.

Titanium white is considered to be non-toxic unless inhaled. Caution with dry pigment or sanding.  2
Zinc white may have traces of lead. Moderately toxic by ingestion. Less toxic by inhalation.  1
Lead white is toxic and should not be ingested, or inhaled (when sanding, scraping or spraying). I believe it wise to keep lead white off of one’s skin: wear gloves and other barriers when painting. Keep out of reach of children.

Drying Time:
Drying times vary greatly. A fast drier will hasten the drying time of any paint it is mixed with. A slow drier will lengthen the drying time of any paint it is mixed with.

Lead White: Fast (a few days) 2, 3
Titanium White: slower 2
Zinc White: slowest 2

Because the most opaque oil color of all is white, 3 it has excellent covering capacity and tinting strength. The opacity varies among the whites, however.

Lead White: Opaque
Titanium White: Opaque
Zinc White: Semi-transparent

Permanence and Lightfastness
All three whites have excellent permanence and excellent lightfastness.
However, the tendency to yellow over time varies.

Titanium White: Tendency to yellow less than zincs…but still yellows easily. 2
Lead White: “May become discolored over long periods of time.” 1 May “blacken when exposed to sulphur in the air.” 1
Zinc White: Tends to yellow. 2

White Paint Ingredients- What's in the Tube?
Earlier I stated, I believe it is so essential to determine the actual pigments contained in the white being used regardless of the name of the paint. Below is an example to illustrate this point.

Let us suppose I want a fast drying white paint with high covering capacity. I may choose lead white. Many know that the terms 'lead white' and 'flake white' are used interchangeably. A tube of white paint with the label, "Flake White" would lead me to believe that the only pigment in the tube was lead carbonate. I would be wrong to believe something so (seemingly) obvious!

Blockx "Flake White" and Williamsburg "Flake White" do contain only the pigment lead carbonate. However, Sennelier "Flake White" contains both lead carbonate and zinc oxide. The Sennelier "Flake White" has the same pigments as  Blockx "Mixed White," Old Holland "Flake White 1," and Michael Harding "Flake White no. 2."

If I want pure lead carbonate in the Old Holland or the Michael Harding lines, I need to buy the "Cremnitz White." 4 If I want it in the Sennelier line, I'm out of luck.  And Gamblin "Flake White Replacement?" No lead carbonate at all, just titanium and zinc. In a later post I will list white paints by brand and content.

In the next post about white pigments, however,  I will address specific uses of the white paints.
1. Blick, Dick 4/03/10
2. Blick, Dick 3/03/10
3. Creevy, Bill The Oil Painting Book, Materials and techniques for today’s artist, 1994, Watson-Guptill, New York
4. Harding, Michael 3/15/10

Please post your thoughts by clicking 'comments' below.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

White Oil Paint Pigments; A White Is A White Is A White...What's The Difference?

Are all white oil paints basically the same?

Nope! There are even variations between brands of whites with the same name as well as similarities between whites of differing names! Over the next few weeks it is my goal to research, pick apart and reassemble this subject. I intend to distill this down to something clear and understandable.

White Oil Painting Pigments
There are essentially three main white pigments that are widely available: Lead White, Titanium White, and Zinc White. Either an individual pigment or a mixture of more than one pigment is combined with a vehicle, such as linseed oil, to make paint. Some companies may add fillers, extenders or dryers as well.
Oil Paint Ingredients
Knowing the properties of these pigments can help determine which white to choose for a specific task. It is important to know which pigment is contained in a tube of white before purchasing it. Believe it or not, a paint called “titanium white” may contain more than the pigment titanium dioxide!  This can be a problem when one wants the most opaque non-toxic white.  If zinc oxide is the additional pigment, this "titanium white" will not only be less opaque, but will also dry more slowly. 

In subsequent posts I will dissect the whites further to clear up the muddle within brands and between brands.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


This is the first painting that was completed in the current series:

Oil on Canvas

Untitled (detail)


Work in Progress 3

Work in Progress 2


Work in Progress 1 (detail)


 Work in Progress 1

Please post your thoughts by clicking 'comments' below.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Painting Process, New Work 1

The painting below is a work in progress with the working title "Jump." Although I began the painting nearly a year ago, I am just getting back to completing it in the last month.

(A Work in Progress)
Oil On Canvas
Click Image For Larger View

This photo above was taken after a painting session nearly 2 weeks ago.

Below are a few shots of the progression from more recent to least recent.

With notes to myself about value range.

How it has been sitting for most of the past year.

Please post your opinion by clicking 'comments, below.'

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"A Night to Remember"

This is a painting from the current series:

"A Night to Remember"
Oil on Canvas

Click Image For Larger View

Please post your thoughts by clicking 'comments.'

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