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How I Work

Methods and materials

We all know the internet is not an ideal place to view art.

One of the reasons for this is there is no agreement between computer companies about the monitor/screen calibration of your pc, laptop or phone. This makes viewing art on the internet very difficult.

Viewing on screen also means it is impossible to see and understand how a particular work has been made or how well it has been made. Here are the details of how I make my work and what kind of materials I use.

My materials – the exhibition stretchers and canvas and oil paint – come from the longest established art suppliers in London: Cornelissen and Russell and Chapple. Oil paint is a complex market. A lot of the oil paint you can buy these days is made with artificial pigments with fillers added to them to increase the volume of the paint without increasing the amount of artificial pigment to keep the cost low. This has long-lasting effects on the painting; the colour begins to fade and lose its intensity, slowly becoming dull.

The oil colour I use is either handmade with real pigment dug out of the earth, or by companies that have good reputations who have been making good quality paint with real pigment for many years.

For the oil paintings I use thin glazes of oil colour layered over each other. This takes a long time as each layer has to dry before another glaze can be added. Each canvas may have between 10 or 15 layers of glaze to achieve the final colour. A matt varnish is applied to the finished work to protect the surface of the canvas from dust.

I use the same material suppliers for the stretchers and canvas. A white gesso ground is applied thickly to the canvas with a large stiff brush to make raised waves across or down the canvas. Once this is dry the pure graphite drawing is applied. There may be four or five layers of graphite, each layer is fixed befor the next layer is applied. A matt varnish is then applied to the canvas to protect the finished work.

Making a detailed drawing on a highly textured canvas takes a long time and is difficult to achieve, unlike drawing on paper .

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About pigments on canvas

Pigments on canvas are more fragile than oil paint on canvas and require very careful handling. If you touch the surface some pigment may come off. This may not change the image or the look of the painting but it will have broken the fine protective layer of varnish that has been applied to the painting’s surface.

This means the pigment may come loose and over time begin to fall on to other parts of the canvas. This is easily prevented by applying another layer of varnish to the canvas, but needs to be done by a restorer or by the artist.

All the technical details will be supplied by the artist. It is easy to do and the cost is minimal.

I recommend that the painting is framed in a glazed box frame to keep any dust off the surface. Dust is very dangerous for paintings. It is extremely difficult to remove especially from a surface that has dry pigment applied to it.