Monday, December 9, 2013

Touching-up, catelogueing and varnishing.

A blog about some practical matters.

Here I am touching up Saturday's painting. My easel is a bandsaw. I bring my pallet back and try and use it before it starts to dry, being below freezing is good!

I keep my calendar and write down where I painted on the day, with "day 1" or "day 2" distinctions, if relevant.  I also started noting the size. I keep a running tally, so each painting has a unique number. I started this when I did my "re-boot" in May 2012.

I then mark the back with the information, and I sign my name. I use locations to title the paintings

Here I'm varnishing. I use damar varnish that I make by diluting damar crystals in turpentine.

Now that it's cold and the paint has gotten really stiff, I'll make a medium with damar and stand oil and terp. we'll try that.


  1. how long do you let your paintings dry before varnishing ? the ones I did in sept still feel not quite dry.

    1. I've been following the advice of John F Carlson 1875-1947 in his book "Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting" published by Dover. I'm on my second reading, but his chapter on materials is good and I use his method of making panels too. He advises varnishing either within a month of painting when the paint has dried enough so it won't "lift" of to wait a year. He also recommends oil of copal, which as I understand is no longer available ( the stuff they sell now is actually a synthetic) I use Damar that I make by diluting the crystals in turpentine ( not mineral spirits!). I wonder why your paintings are still "wet" after that much time, mine seem to be at least marginally "dry" after about a week, and that's for the titanium white, that's the slowest pigment to dry. Anyway another great resource is a blog by Sapleton Kearns, He's got a lot of experience, and the blog is huge, and well worth the time to read.

  2. I have the same book of John F Carlson and must say it is a real help for those who consider painting out doors specially in cold places where you live ( New England) .
    I used to live in Manchester Vermont so I know something about winters and cold weather out there. I once took a summer class in Stove with Frank Mason a painter who used to teach at the Art Students League NY.
    Take care.

    1. I'm not far from Manchester, about 40 minutes by car, I've been showing at the Southern Vermont Arts Center, and love the Northshire book store. I also just read Emile Groupe's book on landscape painting, which I can also recommend. I'll have to look up Frank Mason, I don't know his work at all. Vermont is a beautiful place! even though it's so close I've rarely gone there to paint. It's more mountainous than here. How long ago were you in Manchester?