Saturday, 17 December 2016

A paintable pooch

oil painting of a white poodle on linen
After 2 or 3 very difficult paintings in a row, it was lovely to work on this charming little dog, who almost  painted himself.
The surface is a Pebeo Natural Linen board (so basically, brown). I painted in loose, fairly liquid strokes a background of Transparent Oxide Red and Prussian Green, allowing the two to mix in places. I used this background also as a proxy for the shadows in the poodles fur.
Then, I positioned the eyes and nose and painted them - he looked very odd at this point, perfectly present but without any fur.
His fur is Gamblin Flake White, greyed as necessary with a mixture of the two background colours. Flake White is the substitute for the traditional lead white paint that has been used for centuries. Unfortunately, the UK government won't allow artists to paint with it as it is toxic if ingested (I think they have taken the old adage of "starving artists" a bit too literally myself).
So, in the UK, we need to use a substitute. I have no means of knowing if it works in the same way as Lead White, but it is very different to Titanium White. It is not so cold or chalky. It is stiffer and less slick. It feels kind of stringy as it comes off the brush, like painting with jelly or frog spawn or something. But here's the thing: it behaves itself and does not automatically turn everything it touches into muddy sludge. Hooray.

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