Work on Display for CIC Arts Week Kickoff Exhibition Party
On Monday, May 1, from 5:30-8pm the Kickoff Exhibition Party of CIC Arts Week takes place on the 4th floor of One Broadway at Kendall Square, Cambridge. A collection of my drawings will be on display along with a number of works by Boston and Cambridge artists. This event will also feature my friends from El Taller Vagabundo, who will be selling their planters, pottery, and handmade books. Click here to RSVP!
Venture Cafe: Creative Industries - Demo Table
On Thursday, May 4, from 5:30-7:30, I will be holding a demo table at the Venture Cafe: Creative Industries event. Below is a description of what I'll be sharing with attendees. You can RSVP here.
Demo Table: Making Paint from Raw Materials
Ever wonder where paint comes from? Join a classically trained painter for demos on how to produce and use oil paint, watercolors, and mediums using raw materials, traditional tools, and techniques that began centuries ago. Producing paint at home saves money, gives the artist more control over the properties of the paint used during the creative process, and forges a stronger bond between artist and materials.
Please note that while you are encouraged to RSVP for planning purposes, you can also just swing by to either event.
One Broadway is easily accessible via the Red Line Kendall stop. When you arrive at One Broadway, you will just need to stop by the security desk on the main floor and check in with a photo ID. From there, you can head up to the 4th floor (for the kickoff exhibition) or the 5th floor (for Venture Cafe) and check in at the event table/kiosk.
For more information on each event, the full listing with links to EventBrite pages is here. Check the flyer for the other exciting events happening this coming week! I recommend stopping by all of them :)
I was in the city this weekend and stopped by Kremer to restock the pigment pantry. And then my mom surprised me with the new set of retouching brushes. This is all in preparation for a very dear project coming up involving a diner from 1940s upstate New York. All those bricks should be interesting...
Kremer Pigmente is a shop in NYC that specializes in fine pigments and raw materials for painting. The place is a gold mine for both classic colors and zany brights. I picked up some cold-pressed linseed oil and dammar gum for varnish, as well as some fresh gold ochre and titanium white, but also invested in a turquoise that I thought would do well for a street sign in one of my paintings. Also got my first glass muller, which makes paint mixing a lot more efficient and breaks up the powder so it can dissolve into the oil more fully. Had to splurge on a fantastic set of retouching brushes as well. Painting heaven. Can't wait to go back.
George Kremer was also featured on one of my favorite Radiolab episodes, about color. That particular segment is about the color Gambodge, and it starts at 15:47 if you're curious: http://www.radiolab.org/story/211193-perfect-yellow/
Check out Kremer here, you can also order online: http://www.kremerpigments.com
I remixed some of my older paints today and made a short video of the process. Because I only use a tiny dollop of each color every day, I make just enough paint to fill canisters that are about the diameter of a quarter. There's no need to make more than I'll use in a couple month's time, and that way I continually make myself freshly mixed batches of color.
I find that with certain colors it's better to add a little extra linseed oil or the paint develops a crust after a few weeks, rendering it unusable and a waste. The extra oil just means that I need to stir the paint every so often to prevent it from settling and congealing. The texture is like commercial oil paint diluted with linseed oil to make it creamier and less pasty.
Every color mixes differently. Titanium white pigment sinks into the oil almost immediately, so it is very easy to overdo it and make it too milky. It can still be usable like this, but it's a slippery slope. Colors that you've mixed with a highly diluted white may seem the right hue when you apply the paint, but it can dry much darker and you may waste time having to go back and fine tune the luminosity. On the other hand, yellow ochre takes longer to absorb the oil, so you have to be patient and allow the pigment to catch up while mixing. You can see that I added oil to the white only a few times and quite sparingly, while with the yellow I added it incrementally and over a longer period of time. The white ends up being light and whippable, while only toward the end does the yellow reveal all the oil I've added, shifting to a heavy, soupy consistency.
Although I can control the outcome to an extent, the consistencies are largely inherent in each pigment's properties. So for instance, cadmium red tends to be very easy to mix and turns out almost the consistency of soft butter. Ultramarine blue is the opposite. It is definitely the hardest to mix and the most difficult to keep. The pigment tends to dissolve and float in the oil almost instantly, but as soon as it goes in the canister it separates and hardens at the bottom like a cake of cement. It requires a lot of upkeep and constant remixing, though luckily it is very potent and it doesn't take much to do the job when mixing with other colors.
Here's the shorter version with white.
A little more painting nerd talk, for the last two years I've been using pigments from Sinopia Pigments, a company based out of San Francisco. They have a great selection of high quality pigments and binders. I invested roughly $100 in my current palette of 13 colors and cold-pressed linseed oil from Sinopia back in 2011, and I've only recently run out of yellow ochre and white. Using pigments is a very cost effective way to be a painter because you typically get more colors to choose from, the pigments are pure and higher quality, and you can hold onto a jar or bag for years at a time. You can also make watercolor with the same pigments and gum arabic diluted in water. Even egg tempera, wax, or acrylic paint if that's your bag. Of course, my paintings are pretty small, so I can get by on a 75g jar ($20.00) of cadmium red medium for years, whereas larger-scale painters might need a 500g bag ($85.00) for it to last as long. Cadmium red is my priciest color though, so don't let that scare you. A 75g jar of yellow ochre can start as low as $8.00 and 500g at $17.00.
I'd look into Kremer Pigments as well, which is based out of New York City (and was featured in the Radiolab about color!) I once ordered some Cellulose glue and Damar gum from them and received both only a couple days later. Their prices run about the same as Sinopia, and because they are on my side of the country, I can probably expect them to arrive a little sooner than Sinopia if I'm in a pinch. I did cave and pick up a cheap jar of titanium white at Utrecht recently, though I wouldn't recommend Utrecht for all your pigments. The stores don't generally carry any pigments beyond your basic rainbow.
Anyway, the above paint will be going on the below painting. The foreground is very wintery but the background will be springy. Stay tuned.
Hannah Dunscombe is a painter and portrait artist based out of Brookline, MA.