Saturday, December 10, 2016

305: Painting as a Discipline

– WHEN I worked in the animation business, the sentiment was expressed that if you weren't drawing enough to need an electric pencil sharpener you weren't drawing fast enough. You needed to push yourself so hard you were sharpening your pencil every few seconds. I often heard the expression putting miles on the pencil. I bought an electric pencil sharpener and put the ideas into practice.

Lately, I've expanded on the concept and decided that if I wasn't painting enough to need a can of Titanium White I wasn't painting fast enough. If you have ever purchased oil paint in a can you know it's difficult to keep the top layer from drying. The dried flecks then get into the painting (which drives me crazy). Paint in cans is much cheaper, but unless you are painting fast, the only alternative is to tube the paint.

As I move into the next phase of my painting project, I plan to paint so fast that Titanium White will have zero chance of drying in the can. My new motto is if I'm not painting fast enough to keep my can of white from drying out, I'm not painting fast enough.

Incidentally, if you've never tried Gamblin's Flake White Replacement, a substitute for Lead White, you should check it out here. It is a thick, yet creamy alternative if you prefer not to use lead.

My prime method of keeping paint fresh in the can will be to use it fast. However, it is a good practice to use a blunt tipped paint scraper to get paint out of the can. With a little practice, this will create a flat surface rather than the bumpy one a round-ended palette knife will produce. Oil dries by oxidation, so the less surface exposed to the air the less it will dry. If you aren't going to be using the paint for a while, the best idea is to store the can upside down. In addition to painting like a maniac, these tips will help you keep the paint drying on your canvas and not in the can.

 Brad Teare — December 2016

Summer Skies, above, 24" x 24",  oil on canvas, SOLD, other paintings available at Anthony's Fine Art


  1. I enjoyed reading this post. It reminded me of how important it is to set severe self-imposed limitations to force creativity. Staying ahead of the can of paint being wasted is a good example. Paint fast. Be prolific.

    1. Thanks, Steve. I agree with you about limitations. Thanks for dropping by.


  2. I think these must be useful to you.
    Thank you for your interest.


Thanks for your comments!


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