As a painter who seeks the best materials, I have now found the best quality oil ground linen canvas. When I first learned about oil grounds, I was immediately fascinated with the material. There's no comparison between the acrylic "gesso" grounds and the surface of an oil ground. But even with oil grounds, I have found a startling difference between titanium white grounds and lead white grounds. For me, titanium grounds have a high absorbency that catches the paint and sucks it in, while lead has a buttery type of surface that allows the paint to glide. I've tried many varieties of commercially prepared oil ground, but was always disappointed by not being able to order lead and a custom tone of gray (which I prefer).
I am very familiar with preparing my own grounds and my previous practice was to prepare my own lead primed grounds. I'm glad I know how to prepare my own grounds, but this process is time consuming, very messy and difficult to get right all the time. Nevertheless, I am an artist that believes in the importance of materials. I believe the same philosophy applies to chefs: no matter how good of a chef you are, you can't make a good meal out of bad ingredients.
So I reached out to Mr. Angel De La Cruz via email to inquire about getting a lead primed, gray toned, oil ground. Angel wrote back to me very promptly and said he actually had a roll in stock that matched my specifications. I was very excited, but a little nervous. Would the gray be the right value? I didn't want something too dark or too light. Long story short, the canvas is absolutely perfect. The tone of gray is spot on, not too dark or too light. The linen is double primed also which creates a smooth surface, but still has the tooth of the fabric-- perfect for portrait work. I've included some photos below, but it's difficult to capture the quality of this canvas in photos. I know the canvas is also very well sized because none of the oil ground has seeped through to the back of the canvas. For anyone who doesn't know about oil grounds: you need to have a size (a glue) to act as a barrier so that the oil ground won't reach the linen or canvas because that can cause degradation over time.
It's very important to keep these traditional artistic practices alive which is why I only want to support companies that make great quality materials. Angel and Ben are wonderful to do business with and I'm so happy that I found them. I want to thank companies like A E Art Canvas Priming, Natural Pigments and Rosemary and Co for keeping these traditions alive.
The roll that I ordered is: #13 Linen, 57"X 6 Yds, DP Gray Lead. I don't want to list the price in case their prices change, but I can tell you that it was very reasonable considering what most other companies charge for oil grounds. I don't think that they have a website (which is cooler in my book) but you can contact Angel and his son, Ben, at the address and email below:
A E Art Canvas Priming
605 East 132nd Street
Bronx NY 10454
Merry Christmas to everyone, hope everyone is having a good one and got some cool gifts.
I got some amazing books that I started working my way through. The first book that I'm reading is one I've been waiting to read for a while: Painting Portraits by Everett Raymond Kinstler. I'm not finished reading it yet, but I've already learned a tremendous amount. It has a lot of technical information, which makes it fascinating to read. The copy I got had a special addition of a drawing and inscription by Mr. Kinstler himself.
I sadly never got to meet Mr. Kinstler in person, but I did exchange emails with him; he always took time to thoughtfully respond and give me advice for my work.
I went to Blicks today to pick up some supplies and decided to test out some of the Arches rough grain watercolor paper. I had been using the green covered, fine grain paper previously.
Both papers are cold pressed so they both have a certain amount of tooth. The fine grain is noticeable smoother, but there's not a huge difference between the fine grain and the rough grain. I set up outside to do quick light and shadow study and found that the rough tooth really works well for capturing a quick effect of the light and color. I wouldn't recommend using the rough grain if you're a more detailed painter, but this rough paper works very well for me. I also found that it's not as rough as the Winsor & Newton watercolor paper.
Gotta keep painting while the weather's still fairly nice; once it gets colder out, the watercolor freezes while you're trying to paint.
It's always a great feeling to frame a painting. I do my own framing and got this one from: www.pictureframes.com - It's a nice quality frame and fit perfectly. This painting is for my Mom and I did it back in 2015 when I was really into the method of William Bouguereau (1825 - 1905).
The surface had yellowed quite a bit when it was in storage so I left it in a window with some direct sun for about a month; this is a great trick for anyone with yellowed oil paintings, the sun will bleach the yellow without harming the colors.
*Do not put watercolors in a spot with direct sunlight because it'll destroy your watercolors. This is only for oil paintings which can turn yellow when in darkness for extended periods. Now it looks good and it's going to look great hanging on the wall.