Monday, January 4, 2010

Leftover turkey

Just getting around to posting this from a Thanksgiving trip to Bishop, it may be a little stale ; )

The White Mountains in low clouds. 6x8 O/P

I finally got around to testing out the little Julian Box over the Thanksgiving day weekend, and discovered a few key points. First, don't try a new setup in 30 degree temperatures and 20 mph winds. Second, if using a bare wood palette, make sure the wood is "seasoned" first or it will suck the oil out of your paints and make mixing (already thick and frozen paint) a real bitch. Third, the solid frame slides that hold the panel in place, make it difficult to paint to the edges of your panel. And finally, even if you're just experimenting with a new set-up, don't skimp on good brushes, always use the best brushes you have.

Everyone's a critic...

Even with, or perhaps because of the limitations of this session, it was actually really fun! The light was changing fast, so I had to fix a composition in my head and then paint like mad while it was still fresh in memory. I'm thinking that this race the clock mentality is the way it's actually supposed to be (at least for quick studies) as it really makes me more focused as I try to break down a scene into it's most basic components. And the added plus of fighting with your materials, and trying to keep your easel from blowing away only adds to the excitement. I finished this in under 40 minutes, because on top of the changing light, I could'nt feel my fingers anymore. Which brings up one final point, when painting in cold conditions, limit the amount of bare metal your fingers come in contact with eg. frozen paint tubes, leatherman tools that you need to use the pliers to open the frozen paint tubes, metal paint scrapers, wing nuts on your pochade box, tripods and tripod heads, and even the ferrules on your paint brushes.

So in the end, I'll have to give the Julian box a 'fail' as an oil paint box. Probably the biggest drawback it has, is the lack of space between the palette and the stored panel. This means that you can't leave paint on the palette and close up the box, which to me, means longer prep and cleanup time, as well as wasting paint. Who knows, it might still find a new calling as a sketching/watercolor box, but that may require a few mods... : )

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