Here is a post on ideas for minimal equipment for Plein Air work. I will add a couple of pictures of my light weight board.  The boards I use are 1/2” foam core. The wood is attached on the foam core with tabs of Velcro. With this minimal wood used, the weight is reduced. I have 2 foam core boards with Velcro, so I can have 2 pieces of 1/4 sheet of watercolor paper ready to go. The quick release mounted on the X-board is easy to move from one foam core board to another.

Just Sketching

29 July, 2018. I’ve been pretty busy this past week getting the Art Department ready for the start of classes in a couple of weeks. Long story short: Not a lot of time to paint or sketch – but plenty of opportunity to be pondering ideas.

Occupying my thoughts has been gouache and limited color palettes. Gouache continues to intrigue me as a media, and I love how a minimalist approach to color results in harmonious combinations. A surprising number of people have asked me about using gouache as a plein air media, so just to prove to the more incredulous I made this 6 x 9 inch sketch. The colors on my palette are Perylene Violet, Ultramarine, Yellow Ochre, and white – the jury is still out for me on this particular triad, by the way.

I tried as best I could to make a photo from the same…

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Everyday is a holiday. We just got home from a short trip in Lucky.

The boys off leash and loving it.

When the only architecture is an outhouse, that’s what I draw! Same view, 2 paintings. I should have waited for this sunset view! Then Derald floated in my view! That man loves to fish in his yaks!

As we left the lake, this was our view of water lilies.

Solvent free info from Gambling

Brush cleaning

Because the use of Gamsol and other solvents is so closely linked to brush cleaning, it is important for us to discuss the ins and outs of brush cleaning without the use of solvents. To this end, many painters have incorporated either mineral oil and/or “green/natural” solvent-alternatives for removing color from brushes during painting sessions. It is our stance that a material used for this purpose should do one of two things – either evaporate entirely out of paint layers (like Gamsol does), or contribute to the drying of the resulting paint layers. Mineral oil or cooking oil are non-drying and should not be incorporated into painting sessions, as even small amounts can interfere with drying. Many solvent-alternatives on the market do not evaporate completely and leave behind sticky/discolored residues in paint layers. These are best left out of the painting process entirely.

Gamblin Safflower Oil is ideal for cleaning brushes during solvent-free painting sessions. By using a simple “two rag” system outlined below, painters can reduce the amount of pigment that gets into their cleaning oil, and thus prolong its usefulness.

For brush clean-up during your painting session, first, wipe excess paint from brushes with a rag. Then dip your brush in a container of Gamblin Safflower Oil. Next, wipe the safflower oil and any remaining pigment from your brush with a second rag and continue painting.

After your painting session, brushes can be further cleaned using Gamsol and/or soap and water.

Please note that oil-soaked rags should be – at a minimum – properly stored in an Oily Rag Safety Can (such as those offered by JustRite™) until they can be thrown out. Even better, soak rags in water, and place them in an old jar or similar container and dispose of them outside in your household trashcan or apartment building dumpster.


*******Using either Gamsol or Safflower Oil for brush cleaning prevents pigments from being poured down the drain and contaminating the watershed. Additional information can be found on our page Oil Paint Brush Cleaning Tips.

We hope this information helps you navigate the world of Solvent-Free Oil Painting, and ultimately, create the safest painting studio possible.

Slipping and sliding

Recently I found interest in dragging out my oils. First it was water soluble, as I found the artists Charlie Hunter and Beth Bathe’s art intriguing. Then I signed up for an oil workshop with Tim Tyler. I met Tim in Augusta, and I admire his portrait work. Out came the real deal, Gamsol and all. I found I had a lot of cleaning to do just to not embarrass myself at the workshop! I am kind of a messy painter. The Gamsol reeked. I just knew this would be the last hurrah with oils.

The workshop was a disappointment. My fault for not reading about how he was handling it before signing up. I had high expectations of long demos and loads of juicy information. The format he used was to select a masterpiece from a stack, grid and copy. I have done that a million times, well a million is exaggerated, but a lot. There is value in that, but I would not want to take a workshop to do it. My fault for not reading about his lesson format. Tim is a nice guy, very talented. I wish I had the opportunity to tap in on it. The closest I got to understanding how he paints was to copy one of the paintings he had on display. After I did the copy a master, Maynard Dixon, I copied a Tim Tyler. So here they are. Two copies, 9-4 workshop. Today I dug out a photo I took in TX this spring, and did it in oil. No grid. 😝After Derald critique I added some foreground details.

And here is the water soluble oil, in the Bathe/Hunter style.

Oils are SO MUCH easier.