Blue Breakers

4" x 5", Gouache on Plate Bristol Board

I did not find this picture easy to do. At one point I actually
rinsed it off under the tap. That was a good thing, as it revealed
(as it can do), some subtle tones and textures I wouldn't have
seen had I not done that. I really wanted it to be semi-abstract,
as I love a balance of realism and abstract. I find that very

As it is, I am fairly satisfied with this effort, as I absolutely love
the colors. If you haven't tried gouache (opaque watercolor) yet,
you ought to give it a try. You don't actually have to run out and
buy a "set" of gouache if you have a set of watercolors. All you need
is a tube of Chinese White, which I learned today was invented in
1834 (and certainly made good use of by Turner, who left no less
than 20,000 works of art at his death!).

You can mix the Chinese White with the watercolor. This is actually
how gouache (then known as "bodycolour" ) was originally done in
the 18th century. Hmm.....interesting. Anyway, it is really fun to
work with, because you can use it transparently or opaquely, and
any "mistake" can be covered up. It is kind of like oils, really, except
that you really can't "blend" it so much, and it does tend to dry a bit
lighter than it is when it is wet.

Thanks for visiting today.


"Essence" Nude Sketch of a Very Pale Model

7" x 9", "Essence" on "Sand" Canson Paper,
This sketch was done in a technique called
"Peinture a l'essence" that was commonly used
by Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec. I think I may
have mentioned this previously a few months
back. To do this, you have to soak the oil out of
the paint on blotters or paper towels overnight.
Then, you transfer the paint to a paletter, and
use it, without adding any medium (this is very
important), but just diluting with solvent ("essence")
means "solvent" in French). This enables you to paint
right on any paper, without preparing it with a ground,
such as gesso, rabbit skin glue, or shellac.
The effect is a very mat one, and sometimes people
think these paintings are pastels. Toulouse-Lautrec's
famouse paintings on cardboard in the National
Gallery were all done this way. And, while they are
more than one hundred years old, there is still no
oil stain around the images.
I am going to be teaching a workshop in this soon.
Thanks for visiting today.