Tuesday, May 21, 2013

121 Experimenting with paint

I've been experimenting lately with abstract painting. I find it an excellent way to focus on design and color. I think of my abstract painting experience as my paint lab. It's an exciting way to try new color schemes and to relax and let the paint do the painting. I got the idea for these thicker oil abstracts while taking closeup photos of my realist landscape paintings to show the broken color. I loved the profusion of intermingled color without the distraction of reality. Each square inch looked like a large abstract painting. For more info on painting with broken color go here.

One downside to painting with extremely loaded strokes of color is that you use a lot of paint. In the following video I used paint from RGH Artists' Paints, a source fellow painter Robert Britton, Jr. recently wrote about. Robert did an analysis of cost and color comparison of RGH paints here.

I found the RGH colors vibrant, thickly textured, creamy yet opaque. I bought a nice assortment of colors and in the future I will be reordering this excellent paint. If you need lots of high-quality yet reasonably priced paint I highly recommend this company.

Brad Teare 2013


  1. Hi Brad:

    Thanks for the video and the shout out. I'm glad you are finding your initial experiences with RGH Paints to be satisfactory. I also appreciated the mechanism by which you save your paint. Very simple and effective.

    On a different note, I really enjoyed this painting that you are working on. The variegated colors of thick paint in abstract forms is very enjoyable. While I've not done anything like this, it would appear that you have the art of UNDER working the blending to achieve such great results in variegated colors. Quite excellent, my friend.

    I got out yesterday to paint outdoors but got rained out after an hour with some nasty thunderheads chasing my light away. I hope to get out again this week, though they are calling for further thunderstorms.

    Thanks again for the tip of the hat on the post I did, and I truly hope you are enjoying RGH Paints. I'm a very satisfied customer. The paints are excellent, IMHO, and the value you receive is great. More paint for the buck, quality paint at that!

    I do really appreciate companies like RGH that go out of their way to help artists such as ourselves get quality products with value, too.

    Enjoy the painting! This one looks great!

    1. Thank you, Robert, for tipping me off about RGH paints. I really needed to find an inexpensive supplier if I was going to pursue abstract painting. I used about a third of the 250 ml can of blue paint in my abstract "Between Light and Shadow" and it was only a 30" x 24", which is small for an abstract.

      I agree, an artist's best friend is a supplier that can deliver quality paint at a reasonable price. I'll still use Gamblin as well though. Have you tried their Transparent Earth colors? They are amazing especially the yellow. I love it with dioxaozine purple.

  2. Well, it sounds like it's time to purchase in gallons, Brad!


    I saw from your application that a jar would go very fast. But like I said on my blog post, many of RGH paints are excellent and you can't beat the affordability. You in many ways use heavy paint application and larger sizes like Ovanes, though he's not as thick. And Stapleton Kearns paints so much he goes through quarts pretty quickly doing large outdoor works as well. I'm hoping to increase my burn rate by increasing canvas size and painting frequency.

    I do you Gamblin from time to time and will look at their transparent earth colors. Gamblin himself was a very helpful supplier and answered a lot of my questions. I probably will end up using RGH primarily, supplemented at times by others.

    I may look at tubing paint. But so far, can't find cheap tubes. The price from Pearl or Jerry's is so expensive per aluminum tube that it offsets some of the savings of an RGH Paint.

    Anyways, I'm truly happy, Brad. I was concerned that you might be disappointed in RGH. I get no kickbacks in any way at all, but really do appreciate having had my eyes opened to them as a source.

    What do you do for canvas or panels to keep your costs down? Any recommendations? (I've been making my own on hardboard with Zinser Cover All per Stapleton Kearns. Works great. But I'd like to find an inexpensive way to get canvas. Any sources or recommendations?)

  3. Finding inexpensive canvases is a problem. The best deals I've gotten have been with Michael's (the chain) when I have a 40% off coupon. I have gotten some good deals just with sales (up to 75% off!). Next best is Utrecht where I can get 30% off occasionally. I like the quality of their canvases a lot. I also stretch my canvases using recycled stretcher bars (I have a ton in my attic) and canvas from Allen's canvas in Texas (http://www.allenscanvas.com). I bought some empty tubes recently from Amazon and I thought they were a good price but I had to buy 144! The quality was good, with fairly wide caps. I actually avoid Pearl of Jerry's. Their shipping is too expensive, but maybe I need to review my avoidance :o).

    Let me know if you have any further ideas. It seems like there should be a cheaper source of stretched canvases that could help make the art project more affordable. I would like to paint larger. I feel cramped on an 8 x 10 now.

  4. I've been doing panels a la Stapleton Kearns to save money. It's very easy and incredibly affordable. Hardboard will last from what I understand for many many years. I figure, if a Boston School artist commanding thousands for his works uses and recommends them, then it's good enough for me and cost effective.


    But I do wish I could find a way to afford linen panels. I enjoy painting on linen, but just can't afford it at all.

    I tried a few of the less expensive panels from Hobby Lobby. THey are so cheap when onsale. But one in particular ended up loosening up so much that the canvas ended up being wavy like ocean waves. I'll have to take it off and restretch it, something I don't have to do when painting on rigid surfaces.

    I do enjoy painting on rigid surfaces. Since I'm trying to be economical, making my own panels has been the way to go. A 2'x4' handy hardboard panel from Lowes or Home Depot, 1/4" is about $9. A full sheet 4' x 8' is usually about $18. A gallon of Zinsser coverall is $34 and will last you many panels, double-coated. I made two of my own panel carrier boxes that hold six panels each 9" x 12" and 12" x 16". It's a little heavy for hiking around, but in a trunk of a car nearby, it's perfect!

    One day when my art commands reasonable prices, perhaps I can give up the 'economical' aspects of materials. I saw a blog about this woman who was helping Schmid make his lead panels. My goodness there's such abundance of materials he's got it's just amazing.

    Thanks for the references to the tubes. I think I will pick up a box.

  5. I love painting on linen, too. It's my preferred surface. But I do like a stretched surface (canvas or linen). I like the give of the surface for some reason. I added a link to the tubes on the blog entry above. The individual tubes cost about $1.07 when you buy in bulk.

  6. Hi Brad,

    Love your abstract painting. Reminds me of Van Gogh's "Wheat Field with Crows". Just over a year ago I was very lucky to stumble into your website. Some of your tips have been very useful to me and consequently I've become a daily painter which was not the case before. I find your writings very interesting and enjoyable.

    Perhaps you and your readers would like to check out the companies where I purchase my materials from. They are quite economical.

    For canvases I use www.artistbrandcanvas.com

    For empty tubes I used www.danielsmith.com (12-pack 150 ml tubes for $12.30)

    For dry pigments (if you want to make your own paints) I find Sinopia pigments has a large variety of colors.

  7. The tubes you mention from Daniel Smith are a great price, about a dollar a tube. I just bought 144 tubes at $1.07. I will definitely check out the canvases. That is one of the hardest supplies to buy at a good price. Glad you are enjoying the site. I really appreciate the recommendations. What is the surface like on the Artist Brand canvases?

    1. The surface has a medium tooth finish. I usually add two coats of acrylic matte medium to it. The prices at Artist Brand Canvas are so resonable that it's worth giving them a try just to see if their canvases meet your needs.

  8. Thanks for that link. It's not only a great price, but reasonable quantity too!

    I'd also be interested in the perspective on the priming and surface. They sure are inexpensive. But they look pretty good...

  9. I just noticed that the canvas prices are in packs of 4. Wow! Those are great prices.

  10. Brad ( and all )
    While going through a buon fresco phase a few years ago, I purchased a lot of dry pigments from Kremer in New York, along with glass mullers to grind them; the pigments were very reasonable back then and I'm still using those powder-colors for oil paint. Making paint is cheaper than buying it but it is messy, and each pigment is different. Ultramarine Blue is a incredibly gooey pigment for oil mediums. I devised a method of tubing ground pigment by making a 45 degree board that holds three different sizes of paint tubes with quite a bit of wood above the tubes so that I can roll pigment up in tin foil and squeeze the contents into the empty tubes at a downward angle. This method works great, the ease of which helps tip the balance toward making paint over buying it. I still buy ready made paint though and will check out RGH soon.
    I agree that linen is the best support, and also agree that it's too expensive. Boat shops have sail canvas that works well when it's fully primed and it's cheaper than art supply sources. Although Brad you might not find many such marine supply stores in Utah. There's online boat equipment sites though.

    1. Another option is grinding colors each day, making just enough for each sitting. I've been doing this lately and it's not bad at all.

    2. Fresh grinding of pigment as needed is good way to go, especially with those pigments that can be whipped up with a palette knife. Some colors don't 'wet' completely without mulling them on a glass plate and those are the ones that make me buy tube paint off the shelf or make enough to fill a tube. If every pigment was as wettable as the earth colors, I would only buy them in dry powder form. There is something special about turning a small mound of yellow ocher powder into fresh paint for a painting session; it's a connecting feeling to the past and the long line of brothers-of-the-brush legacy.

    3. You have me intrigued with the possibility of making my own paint. I used 1/3 of my 250 ml can of indigo blue I got from RGH on one 30" x 24" painting. Do you know if any of the quinacridone or thalo colors wet up easily? If I could get a simple palette of colors that I could easily mix I could imagine I could save a lot of money.

      Steve-Your tubing process is intriguing. Any chance you could make a quick video of your process? I would love to post it on my site.

    4. Any problem finding artist grade linseed oil at a good price?

    5. Brad...The high chroma pigments seem to require a bit more grinding than earth & cadmiums do but I learned a trick that helps the wetting process: add a little spirits to the powder at first to make the initial 'goo', after that the linseed oil can be worked in much more readily. One can use turps, OMS, or a blend of spirit and oil,...or even alcohol for water based paint ( all these evaporate quickly and won't remain as part of the mixed paint, it's just to start the process). The pigments that I find hardest to work with are the ones you mentioned, the pthalos especially, and for some reason Ultra blue). Also, a mortar & pestle ( a large size ) can come in handy to grind with because glass mullers tend to 'suction' to the glass plate like a wet rubber dart, whereas a mortar won't do that in a bowl. In Rembrandt's great early painting of a painter in his studio there is a color-mixing slab next to the figure that is cupped, not flat, and I bet the concave shape is for the above reason.
      I'll try to do a video of the tubing apparatus I spoke of, but will at least take a still photo of it in process, which may be explanatory enough, it's just a simple thing I made to keep from making such a mess of things. Ladling the paint into a tube with a palette knife was not working for me at all, as clean and graceful as I tried to be, I always ended up with paint everywhere except in the tube. I'm not a computer whiz but will attempt to download something in the next day or so. Is there an attachment feature to this blog somewhere, or can an image be pasted into the commentary?
      As for cheap linseed oil, the only do-it-yourself method I know about is Tad Spurgeon's web site tutorials on how to turn health food store linseed oil into artist grade medium, but I don't know of any outlet that sells the finished product at low cost. Wish I did, as I have to economize with paints and mediums more than I'd like, and that has become an issue for me as I'd want to try some large thick-paint works but don't because the paint is so precious.

    6. A quart of Utrecht's finest linseed oil is on sale now for $11.99 (not cold pressed).

    7. That's a good price for linseed, think I'll order some as today is the last sale day, thanks for the tip.
      Brad...I took a few photos of the tubing board that I made, can they be cut & pasted to a commentary here, or would you like them emailed to you? I don't have a website link or url for others to go to.

    8. Email them to me, Steve, and I will post them with credit to you. Send the URL to your web site too if you have one and I will link to it. I'm enthused to see how you tube up your paints.


Thanks for your comments!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...