How I Work

 

Although I am primarily an oil-painter, I love to experiment with all sorts of materials and various approaches.

Thus, one day I will speed through a painting in a hasty, almost urgent alla-prima manner, without any preparatory drawing. On other occasions, I carefully plan portraits, sometimes transferring the composition with a grid and superposing many, many coats of translucent glazes, taking off some of the paint again with the sheerest layer of a Kleenex tissue, in order to achieve a porcelain-like glow and deep, lush colors.

I must admit however that the “emergency” state comes more naturally and maybe bears more joy for me while painting.

 

 
 

 

Landscapes, on the other hand, call for a variety of beautiful greens and ochres, as well as for the right sky blue. I recently rediscovered Chromium Oxide Green and Cobalt Green, which both mix nicely into the duller grass and leaves color of our local landscapes. The same applies to Cerulean Blue Genuine – add a little white and you have a Bavarian summer sky, whereas I find the sky close to the Mediterranean to be less turquoise, more like Cobalt Blue. Another “fresh” addition to my palette is the beautiful yellow ochre light – either from Rembrandt or Zecchi, it has the pale blonde color of wheat in August.

There are so many marvelous colors, I could go on and on…

PAINTING SURFACES

In general, I paint either on primed linen canvas or on panels such as Gesso boards. Seldom, I might use specially designed oil painting paper, which is more convenient while travelling or during workshops. Almost always, I will tone my painting surface with some kind of imprimatura, either some reddish brown or varying greys and preferably in a translucent layer, though not always.

SIGNATURE

In general, my paintings are signed, titled and dated on the reverse and sometimes signed or monographed on the front as well.

 

 
 

 

But back to the mediums: I mostly use odorless solvent in the beginning and add more oil as the painting progresses, either “plain” cold pressed linseed oil, stand oil or preferably sun-thickened oil. Amidst the lot of other mediums I tried, I find Dammar varnish interesting, because it creates beautiful enamel like colors; in a mixture with a little beeswax (as in one of Michael Harding’s Mediums), it gives deep colors with a matte finish. However, I try to avoid resins these days because they tend to smell too much for my comfort in a small working space. In order to speed up the drying times of my paintings, I combine my regular oil colors with some alkyd paints from Winsor & Newton (especially black & white) in the initial stages of the painting. Most of the time, this allows me to continue working on my painting the next or the following day. Sun-thickened oil speeds up the drying time as well.