Saturday, May 12, 2012

Experiments and Lessons Learned

Oil paint on Arches Oil Paper

I tend to experiment quite a bit in my art. I think play is an important part in learning, especially when it involves materials. When I was in Utah, Michael Chesley Johnson tried out a new paper which had been given to him at the Plein Air Convention. It is Arches Oil Paper (If you want to learn more about the paper, please hit the link). This is made by the Arches company who is known for their watercolor papers. In the past when I did watercolors, Arches cold press was my favorite, so when Michael talked about this new paper, I was intrigued.

I was able to find this at my local Dick Blick store and gave it a try today. I did a quick study loosely based on today's pastel painting scene. The paper feels very much like the watercolor paper, but seems a tiny bit thicker. I really didn't notice the coating they used, other than the smell. It has a slightly musty odor. Not too bad, but noticeable. Michael felt it wasn't too absorptive, but I felt it was pretty thirsty. My first passes of paint scrumbled across the surface. Once I got a nice layer of paint applied, I liked how the paint laid down. I tried both a stiff hogs-hair brush and a softer synthetic. I preferred the synthetic.  Because this is paper, you can easily make your painting any size you wish, or even cut out the bad parts of a painting, saving just the part you love. And with it being so lightweight, it will be a good choice for plein air work. I am not sure yet though, what will be required to frame paintings done on this paper. Will it require framing under glass, or since it is oil paint, can it be framed similar to a painting done on boards?

To work on it, I just taped it onto a board:

And finally, here is the last shot of the bridge painting. I did learn much from this painting, which was my goal. I've decided that my idea of using acrylic matte medium coated mat board as a panel for oils probably isn't a good idea. I have found that the dry oil paint doesn't seem to be as tough or fuse with the board. I was having a lot of trouble with my brush lifting previously painted areas, so I decided to call this painting done.

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