Monday, April 26, 2010

Harold Speed on Modern Art

I am slowly working my way through Harold Speed's book, Oil Painting Techniques And Materials. I'm only through the first chapter but there are some great quotes and content that I want to share before I forget them.

I have never been fond of swearing (most likely because it was never used and punishable within my home growing up) and Harold, while talking about modern art, tied the two together so well. Hopefully the below quote will make you think twice about swearing, or encourage you to expand your painting "vocabulary" (or if necessary, both).

The use of swear words by ignorant people is quite excusable, because they have not the wit to use, or the knowledge of, just those words which would forcefully express what they want to say. And failing to give their expression the force they desire by the legitimate use of words, they throw in some nasty expression of entirely alien association, like a bad smell, but calculated to give a shock; which gives them the satisfaction of having made a forceful remark. The violent use of colours and forms adopted by much so-called advanced art nowadays, is just like these swear words. They want to create a sensation, and not having the wit to use the wonderful instruments of expression that are at the disposal of the modern artist who is prepared to follow the straight and narrow way, they would destroy the restraints of tradition and rush to the use of swearing yellows and screeching reds, of clashing lines and jarring planes, in lieu of anything really forceful to say.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Making Oil Paint

I mainly use Gamblin and Winsor & Newton oil paints (I also use some Rembrandt, but the quality is noticeably different). I recently saw a Discovery channel special on the making of Gamblin paints, and it got me wondering if Winsor & Newton manufactures paint the exact same way. Luckily, I found on YouTube an episode of "How it's Made" (another Discovery channel show) featuring the Winsor & Newton process. After watching both, it is clear that although the process of making paint is the same, it seems that Winsor & Newton focuses much more on exactness, quality control, and lab testing. This is probably tied closely with the fact that Winsor & Newton is a much larger company and has a reputation as the "best" oil paint to keep up. From a personal, hands-on point of view, I like each brand for their own qualities. Gamblin has a generally fantastic consistency and transparency, but Winsor & Newton's colors seem purer while the consistency is a little thicker with less transparent in some cases (which may be tied to the actual pigment, not the manufacturing process).

To really study the options and differences between these brands, I've ordered their hand-painted color charts (which I honestly didn't know existed). This way I can put the swatches side-by-side and make sure I'm choosing the right brand for the right color.

For the Winsor & Newton click here
And for Gamblin, go here and at the bottom you can send an email requesting one.