Monthly Archives: February 2016

Toxic paint?

This weekend I received a response from my blog post on brush cleaning that read: “Of course there is the option of not using paints/painting bases based on toxins to begin with.” All paints have two essential parts: pigments and binders. Historically, binders for paints were egg, wax, honey, or bitumen, with the occasional organic oil […]

How not to clean your brushes

Cleaning oil painting brushes is the bane of my existence. I’ve tried many things, but nothing works as well as old-fashioned turpentine, now banned from shared studios. Get too aggressive and your brush fibers degenerate into woody, shapeless sticks. Don’t get aggressive enough, and you end up left with paint dried under the ferrules and […]

Commissions you never get anymore

As the nation argues about super-delegates, it’s worth remembering that the powerful have never ceded power voluntarily. From Charlemagne to the Reformation, the primus inter pares of the European nobility was the Holy Roman Emperor, securely Catholic and crowned by the Pope. Along came Martin Luther and his pesky ideas, which percolated among the German nobility […]

Losing yourself

I am blessed to have friends in many art communities. Often the only time I see some of them is at events where we are painting side-by-side. These events are work, yes, but they are also the chance to catch up with people I care about. That inevitably leads to unconscious comparison with their work, […]

Driving to Damariscotta

There are three winter formations that I love and was hoping to paint this year. The frozen seeps on rocky escarpments are groundwater’s motion suspended and exaggerated. The cracked sheets of thick ice in tidal marshes are the tide’s motion caught in time. And the thin sheets of ice that form on the edges of […]

Naming conventions

Around the time of the Bicentennial, there was a fad of quaint Colonial business names. You’d have the perfectly reasonable “Baxter’s Candy” suddenly reinventing itself as “Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe.” I bought my first reciprocating saw with the intention of editing out those extraneous letters. That was replaced by “The Shops at…” Pittsfield, MA has […]