Self Portrait in coloured pencil

Friday, 23 June 2017

Studio Changes


Studio Changes

I have been very busy fussing with changes to my studio for the last few months. 
There are two reasons. The most important reason is that I am starting a new project. I am painting a series of portraits in oil on canvas. I will have a solo exhibition of them in June 2018.
The second reason is that I have had a nasty rash on my leg that meant I have had to sit with my leg propped up on a stool since last October. Because of that I haven't been able to use my usual painting table where I paint while sitting on a gas lift bar stool. (I couldn't find a footstool high enough 😉) So I have been painting and drawing small portraits on the kitchen table. But I have commissions for some big portraits and I have my project. I will say more about that in my next post. 
The result was that I spent a lot time online looking at easels that would let me sit with my leg up. I bought a table easel that would hold a bigger canvas but I couldn't get on with it, and l didn't like the idea of painting in oils on the kitchen table. 
So I set up my old easel in the lounge and it was very crowded. This week, I decided that it is no longer a lounge. It is a studio where I entertain guests. I rearranged the furniture. There was a plan chest under the window which I moved to the other wall where there was an easy chair. The chair has been moved to the kitchen (in the way of the oven). The easel is now in the perfect place where it gets the north light. 
The photo shows my new setup with the portrait I am working on. It is my first attempt at an oil painting. I am using water mixable oils. There are a few different brands. The first ones I bought were Duo Aqua Oil and I like them very much except I have been struggling to get the skin colours that used to be so easy in pastels. I bought a few Cobra oil paints to see if that burnt umber was the colour I remembered. It wasn't. The Cobra paints are more oily and don't suit me so well. 
I checked and you can mix normal oils with water mixable ones so I have bought some but it will be ages before they arrive. 
Meanwhile I have managed to mix a nice skin colour with burnt sienna and Quinacridone Gold and lots of white. I thought the Gold was too powerful to be useful but a tiny bit takes the pasty pink out of the burnt sienna.
I have also been experimenting with different brushes. I like KUM Memory Point brushes for my gouache paintings and I bought some in different shapes and sizes to try.
The water mixable paints dry faster than normal oils and it is a good idea to have a palette with a tight lid like for acrylics. I don't imagine that the kind with a reservoir and a semi permeable membrane would work right but you might like to try. Let me know. 
While I was about all this paint shopping, I bought a Daylight bulb for my worklight which is turned on in the photo. It has been a damp dismal day. 

Postscript: my leg is getting much better now. 

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