Wednesday, February 10, 2010

R&F Pigment Sticks

The weekend after Thanksgiving, 2009 I went to a pigment stick workshop at R&F Handmade Paints. You may know pigment sticks as oil bars or oil sticks. They are essentially oil paint mixed with some wax to render a solid, tubeless cylinder of paint with which to work directly. I had experimented with them before, but had been frustrated by their extremely wet nature. I couldn't figure out how to build layers. My efforts would turn to goo. And if I happened to like the goo, it would take ages, much longer than conventional oils, to dry. So off I went with the hopes of learning some techniques for using these gorgeous, unctuous paints to their full advantage.

I came away with mixed feelings. I still have the highest regard for the quality of the products that R&F make. And I did learn about using an absorbent ground rather than a traditional acrylic gesso, and it was fun to try all the available colors. I thought the instructor was a little cavalier about using them directly on paper. If you want your work to last, I would not do it.

I decided to relax into the transient nature of things and did the painting above rubbing the pigment into paper with a bit of mineral oil (his recommendation). The result is rich, but thin color. No goo.

Myra's Dream, 2009, 22x30 pigment stick on paper

No comments:

Post a Comment