Thursday, November 12, 2009

Varnishing Oil Paintings

The photo below is a detail from one of Theresa's portrait paintings. It is a 32 x 48 oil painting of a woman and four horses. She finished it this past summer and we have been displaying it at shows ever since. A couple of weeks ago, between shows, I got the chance to varnish the painting. This is not polyurethane or a varnish you get at the hardware store. Picture varnish is an entirely different animal. First, it is clear. Second, while it protects the painting, it is delicate compared to modern wood varnishes. Third, it is reversible. It can be removed at a later date without damaging the painting.

What it does do it take the painting to another level. The darks become richer and the lights pop out. Think of the difference between a car with a beautiful shiny paint job and one painted with flat grey primer.

Look at the difference between the horse's head on the right and the one on the left. The fence board really shows the difference between the dull unvarnished and the varnished side. Note the girl hair, the side on her left has been varnished the right side not.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Working on a Series of Paintings

Here is an ongoing series of paintings of a woman leading two horses out to pasture. So far, three different size paintings have been finished.These paintings are based a fews photos I took in the middle of portrait painting reference photo session. Actually, that does make sense, I was with my wife, portrait artist, Theresa Brown,we taking photos for her to use as reference in painting a portrait that she was commissioned to do of a woman and her horse at Chadale Farm in Cary, NC.
We had finished one session and Theresa and the client were reviewing the photos, so I prowled around with the camera. I almost missed the trio below, fumbling around trying to change lenses. I think that I was able to get about five shots.

The first painting of the series is a small thumbnail, 3 x 5 on panel, to explore the color and light and placement of the figures on the canvas. Sorry to tell you that it is already sold.

Here is a larger small study, 4 x 6 on canvas.

This is the largest painting of the series so far, 9 x 12 oil on canvas. You can see I have gone back to the first study for reference, but placed them more definitely in a location.

What's next? I am not sure. I might do an even larger, 16 x 20 or 18 x 24. It's really a lot of fun, So many variables to work with. Location of figures in the landscape and within the painting. The interaction of the woman and the horses. The amount of detail. The color of the late afternoon -evening light.
Or I might stay with this one and possibly publish prints of it and work on another series. I have already had a request for a similar painting with a blonde instead of a brunette.

The painting above is available for sale, $425. shipping included. Go to:
Related Posts with Thumbnails