Sunday, April 5, 2009

My still life "station"


I haven't been able to paint at all since the end of Elio Camacho's still life workshop. Finally today I set up my station and got a flood light, but it isn't the one Elio recommended (I couldn't find the Eiko brand). I wanted to keep it simple so I painted apples. I was in the dark with the flood light bouncing off my white table. In retrospect..no wonder I felt kind of blinded. Well..AND I missed some opportunities there in values and edges. I'll do better next time! I also tried to clean my brushes the way Elio suggested ..with baby oil only. That was weird. He swears it works really well. I don't know..the baby oil got really ucky right away and I had to replace it several times before the brushes seemed clean. I think he told us that they don't have to be cleaned with soap and water after cleaning with baby oil. Are they really clean this way? I don't know! Guess I will find out next time I go to use them. He said you should dry your brushes thoroughly because baby oil is a "non-drier". Does anyone out there use baby oil to clean their brushes?

9 comments:

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

What will you do to keep from being blinded next time around? The apples look shapely and well-considered. Good job!

Celeste Bergin said...

Hi Katherine...I think I will use a cloth and turn on some additional lights ...lol

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Sounds like a plan. Sunglasses would probably not be such a great idea ...

Mariano Zucchi said...

Hi Celeste,
I added the link to your blog on mine, hope is ok with you. I like the insite on Elio Comacho worksop. Thanks for sharing. About your studio set up. For me the light is too bright, it works against you. Also the background is confusing and distracting. I much prefere a box with one open side placed close to a windows. Moving the box up or down , horizontally allow you to find the most attractive shadows for your still life. Hall Groat II has a bunch of DVD's on still life. I learned a lot from then. The first 5 came with an attached booklet witch is very handy, like a condensed bible for Artist!!!! He is one of the daily painters, and helped me a lot. All this said, i wont to tell you, your 3 apples are good. Happy painting and keep worm, your friend
Mariano

Janelle Goodwin said...

I've never tried baby oil, but I read somewhere that Murphy's oil soap works well. After swishing my brushes in that, and squeezing the paint out, I rinse them. They seem to stay more pliable that way.

Pam Holnback said...

I'm interested in the flood light. I know others must use a different light than I am, because I see paintings w/ such bold highlights. I'll have to try a flood light.

Mariano Zucchi said...

Hi Celeste,
On your still life station the light seems too bright and work against you; it seems more natural to me to use daylight coming from a windows. The still life i put inside a large cardbox with 2 adjacent vertical side eliminated. Than i move the box right-left, up and down till i see pleasant shadow i am looking for. There i set the box.
Thank you for the baby oil tip. I use ugly dog brush soap,from studioproducts.com witch i found very good. Baby oil seems to cut down on the time used to clean the brush during the painting, but as long as your brush is clean, your brushstroke is ready to go clean and neatly as you intended. I tought the 3 model painting you just published were very nice. I could not do that if i were to paint for 300 years!!!! Happy painting

Celeste Bergin said...

Hi Janelle..I've heard that about Murphy's soap before..maybe I should try that too.

Pam, the floodlight he recommended is an Eiko Photoflood Supreme. I will be interested to know if you try it!

Mariano...thanks for your comments..yes, I haven't done the still life box yet. It is getting to be good weather so I am hoping to paint more outside. Still, you are right, I should do it so I have it for rainy days.
Thanks again.

David R. Darrow said...

Baby oil is a non-drying mineral oil... it will always stay "wet"

It essentially "lubricates" the paint off the bristles. But I would be very hesitant to get any baby oil in my oil paints for the very reason it cleans brushes. I would recommend cleaning with a drying oil, like walnut oil (which I use) since it is compatible with linseed.

People get used to turps, which are a solvent/rinse and expect the paint to wash off the bristles with a few swishes, but solvents remove the oils from the bristles, making them brittle. So it takes getting used to the cleaning process with oils like walnut or safflower (both are drying oils) because it requires wiping or pinching the excess out into a rag or towel.

The benefit (over any turps) is less toxicity from vapors, and that they are drying oils.

I hate to be a naysayer, here, but I really think the baby oil is a bad idea. Think about it: if you can leave your brush out and it doesn't harden, what does that tell you about your painting?