As a virtual newbie to oil painting, there are tons of things that I am learning in my class and in research online and/or in books. One of the reasons that I was leery of beginning painting in oils was just the sheer number of items needed to even get started. Acrylics were pretty easy in comparison. Canvas, paint, brush, water...go! My oil painting arsenal is getting close to rivaling the workshop of Q - the gadget guy from the James Bond movies, and I don't think it's going to calm down any time soon. I'm turning out to be quite the supply slu...uhm...enthusiast.
So what is all this stuff? The number of mediums are mind-boggling and some of the technique terms sound like diseases or menu items from fancy restaurants. I'd love some Grisaille! Does that come with garlic bread?
That's where this brand new shiny section of the blog comes in! I'd like to meet "What the heck do I do with...??"! Where I will try to explain in understandable terms what all this stuff is about. If you are older and wiser and know more than me, feel free to comment and add anything I might miss. Be nice about it. I'm the only one allowed to be snarky around here.
I first came upon Liquin when I was a kid. It came in a cheap little painting kit that I had bought with my allowance and I had no idea what to do with it. It was this bottle of brownish snot-like goo and there were no instructions on how to use it. Actually there were no instructions at all in the self-proclaiming intro kit. Intro kit my butt. I guess Intro meant take all this stuff, throw it around on a canvas, become totally frustrated and then stuff the whole box under your bed and become a banker like your Dad.
Grade school wasn't much more help. Sorry Sisters. I mean that with all the love in my little catholic heart. I went to a teeny parochial school. And I mean teeny. There were 8 people in my 8th grade graduating class. So the nuns taught everything from Religion to Math to Civics and...Art. My most vivid memories of art at St. Paul was one whole year of origami (God bless Sister Mary Therese, She really loved her paper swans), and other periods of time that included lots of tissue paper and paste and Sister Kathy telling me that I was horrible at everything. I didn't take art in high school. Not really sure why. Hmmm...any thoughts?
Somehow I went to college as an art major. And for 4-1/2 years I worked in acrylics with a dash of watercolor thrown in. I'm sure that acrylics have lots of lovely mediums all their own, but we didn't use them. My professor (Hi Prof. Stomps!) was very abstract in vision and technique and so we added things like sawdust to our gesso and paint, not pre-packaged/store-bought mediums.
I managed to get all the way through college without finding out what this mysterious substance was and honestly didn't give it very much thought. Until last fall. When I received my supply list for my first ever oil painting class, there it was. Liquin. In big black letters. I cannot tell you why, but my brain immediately went into defensive mode. EEEK. GO BE A BANKER!!!
I fought down my inner 8-year-old and make the purchase. Until class started, I would just look at the bottle every-so-often and feel a thrill that come hell or high water this mystery was about to be solved. And yes, on the very first class in the very first hour, I was enlightened. During a color chart exercise, Wini (our teacher) said to mix a drop of liquin into each color blob. I raised my hand and asked "What exactly is this stuff?"
And instead of laughing in my face, my super nice teacher says, "You know how oils can take weeks to dry? This stuff makes them dry much faster. It can also make your paint thinner, smoother and more transparent depending on how much you add."
Oh! That sounds super useful! So i used my pallete knife, scraped up a drop of liquin and blended it with the knife into the paint.
And it can also be used for glazing, I found out a few lessons later. You add a little color to a lot of liquin and paint over a painting that is completely dry. Start with a quarter size dollop of Liquin and add a scrape of paint with your pallet knife. Mix up. Brush on areas you want changed. Let that layer dry and repeat until color effect desired is reached. Each layer you add adds a transparent layer of color that will brighten or darken depending on what color and mixture ration you use.
So there you go. Liquin and I have shaken hands, split a latte and are now BFFs. A few weeks ago he even introduced me to his one-upper cousin, Impasto.