Oil painting study: “acrylic orange”

A while back, I was experimenting with paint. I loved the look of oil paint but hated the smell of it. My limited exposure to oils was when I was in high school (a very long time ago), I think the brand was Grumbacher. It was the traditional type of paint that came in a tube, made with linseed oil and you needed solvents to modify and clean it up. It turned me off of oils completely.

Now we have many more options: some oils are water miscible, some are made with safflower oil and some are made with walnut oil like M. Graham. I can attest to M. Graham having no offensive odour at all. Suddenly, there are opportunities for working in oil. If any of you had the same experience, rejoice!

Below is a small study I did with acrylics to emulate an oil painting. It does not have varnish on it yet (the varnish would deepen and saturate the colours to make it look more like oils). In this study, I was aiming for a chiaroscuro effect through the contrast of highlights and shadows; this effect would also aid in its composition and singular subject matter:


Paint making into the wee hours of the night



Above is all the encaustic paint I made before I ran out of supplies. Usually I make paint with pigment in powder form but my growing concerns with health and safety prompted me to search out dispersion pigments. Of course, dispersion pigments are suspended in water which are not compatible with encaustics. Most people use oil paints to make encaustic paint but I did not like the solvent and linseed oil (smell and toxicity) in most oil paints. However, I found out that one of my favorite watercolour paint companies (M. Graham) make an oil based paint using JUST walnut oil as binder. This paint is wonderful; it’s highly pigmented and does not have a strong odor at all!

The paints are cooling above in seamless tins and I still have 6.5 lbs of beeswax to render into paint and medium. It’s good to have encaustic medium pre-made so it’s ready to go. For now, this will have to do until I get more resin soon.