Sunday, November 6, 2016

Delay an all that!

I think its been couple of months since I last attempted this blog? For a time I got quite engrossed in building that death ray in the garage, a sad disappointment all it did was give “Arny” the local spider (he's Huge!) a headache :-), seriously though I did build some reasonable test equipment during that time.

Then there was the extended holiday, glorious days, quiet, peaceful, few people, wonderful scenery, time to breathe in the world and wonder of things. to put everything in a true perspective.

Llawhaden castle
Now I have started painting again so the Llawhaden castle painting is finished as shown left in the two pic's , not much to say about the final paint layer (lower one) except I altered the conifer on the right hand side as I felt it was too intrusive.

I am at present attempting a series of castle paintings (Oh lord not more castles!), well yea, most castles are just piles of stones nowadays even the large more complete ones but in their own time they were the height of luxury , my mad idea is to try and paint them as they were in their glory days, most people don't realise that early on most castles were painted white (so they would make more of an "in your face" statement) with their banners flying in the wind they would have made an awesome magnificent sight, reassuring to inhabitants, terrifying to enemies! Dunno quite how it will work out but half way through the first one and it seems to be coming along ok, some way to go yet though.

Up until recently I used fairly stiff paint with Sun thickened oil with Turps and a dash of Damer to add fluidity and I must say some gloss, so much so that I rarely needed to oil out sunken works, now though I have gone back to my old more fluid paints which I have used for many years and so rarely needed to use any medium in the final painting stages except of course for glazing and special effects.

The reasoning behind this was that the stiffer pigment loaded paints were expensive but in the final analysis did not give any better results than my old paints, of course it does depend on the painting method used, if you paint in one session using heavy impasto then perhaps stiffer paints are needed but not if as I do you paint by building up layers. As for longevity all I can say is that I have several paintings that I did fifty years or so ago and despite hanging in various conditions in various places, modern houses, old cottages, and for a few years in a ill named summer house while nowadays in my external studio, they are all rock steady with colour, as good as the day they were painted. That is except for one, a snow scene the blueish whites of which were painted using Titanium white and which now have a slightly yellowish cast due to the known problem that linseed tends to migrate to the surface of thick layers of Titanium white!
In my opinion stability of the paint and thus its longevity is all down to discipline and technique and of course the material the painting is made upon be it wood, canvas or metal it must be stable. And yet conversely consider ancient cave paintings made many thousands of years ago they were painted in earth ocher's (the most stable of pigments) fixed with a plant gum binder and residing in what is a certainly a  hostile environment yet incredibly most are still perfectly visible.
Today for convenience most of us use manufactured canvas with panels primed in an acrylic white and we naively put our trust in the manufacturer?

The old paintings I mentioned above all had panels that were all hand made by myself in the following manner, first the raw canvas was boiled, dried and ironed, sheets of hardboard were cut to size the smooth side rubbed with fine sandpaper and then both sides given a coat of hot rabbit skin glue. When the panel had dried canvas was cut with a two inch overlap around each panel, placed over the smooth side of the panel and flooded with hot rabbit skin glue, when dry it was turned over and the overlap glued to the rear, again with rabbit glue. When dry the painting side was rubbed down with fine sandpaper then given a final coat of glue and left for a couple of days before applying the primer.
The best primer would have been a lead based white however I opted for Daler Rowney “hardboard primer” (no longer available) which gave me a fine non absorbent foundation to work on.

As can be seen it was a long winded process but I did make several at a time, and they have certainly stood the test of time, I wonder if the manufactured boards however expensive and supposedly stable will stand the test?

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