A painting demonstration in oil on a 12 x 9" canvas   2001

             This is the state of the painting at the end of the first session.  With neither face nor hands to slow me down, I was able to bring it along quickly.  The neck and back remind me of Ingres and Iím motivated to try and make the work look finished at every stage.

             Iím using both pointed sables and filbert bristle brushes.  I blend with an old worn sable.

             Iím painting this on a 12x9Ē linen canvas stained a grey color made of ultramarine blue and raw umber that is thinned with a mixture of 90% turpentine and 10% Graham Walnut/Alkyd painting medium.  I rubbed the wet painted surface down with a rag to achieve the tone I wanted.

            My favorite brown is Gamblinís asphaltum and I used it for the darks.  The lights were made of Old Holland Cremnitz white mixed with just a dab of raw sienna.  I mixed just a little walnut/alkyd medium into the paint to make it a little more supple and sensitive and to help it dry faster.

            Iíll put it aside and let it dry and take it up again day after tomorrow and start in with color.


Two days have passed and the painting is dry.  I have no idea where to start up, so I do what I always do.  I begin with a task that could inflict the least possible damage.  I use my painting knife to scrape off any lints and any bumps on the painting surface.

I'm using two Silver Brush 1003 Filberts, three very inexpensive Loew-Cornell artificial filberts that I buy in a craft store, a Daniel Smith #4 sable, and an old worn out D. Smith #4 as a blender.

I start on the white drapery, but soon switch to the center of interest, the female back.  I put some paint on the turban and pretty soon I'm warmed up.  I stop thinking and begin to paint by instinct. 

I use a limited palette of colors.  I work carefully and patiently and am proud of it, since by nature I'm neither careful nor patient.  To show rebellion against my mid-twentieth century art training, I use the old sable as a blender.

Remember kiddies, using a blender is bad!

I paint with traditional flake white.  Because of the small size of this painting, I mix a little Permalba ( a titanium / zinc white mix) with the flake white to make it more opaque.  I also add a little walnut oil to make the paint more buttery.

I completed the painting this session.  Obviously I did more work on the

drapery, but the most sensitive careful work was once again done on the back where I softened form and modified shadows.  I did not use a blender at all today.  All brushwork was either with a filbert hogs bristle brush or a pointed sable round.

I mixed up a background color that differed only slightly from the color in the background in stage two, added enough oil to make it lie down and behave a little like enamel, and painted the background again with a fairly large filbert bristle brush.  A pretty good brush rule of thumb is to find the largest brush for the job, and then put it aside and use an even larger brush.

Finally, I took a deep breath, signed my name, and slapped on a frame.

I took photos of this painting-in-progress with my digital camera in daylight.  Due to natural light fluctuations, each photo differs slightly.  Also, your monitor might distort the color further.  If what you see looks pretty punk, kindly cut me some slack.  The color and values in the original painting look very good to our team of experts* here at William Whitaker, Inc.

                                                         *The pizza delivery man, the furnace repair man and my wife Sandra.