Patience is a virtue

“Who Said “Patience Is a Virtue”?” From Your Dictionary .com.

“The first known publishing of the quote “Patiences is a virtue” comes from the poem “Piers Plowman” written between the years 1360 and 1387. Typical of texts from the 14th century, authorship can be debated though literary historians normally attribute most of the text to William Langland. However, there are multiple versions of this poem written at different times with sections believed to be authored by different, unknown people.”

I’m sure we’ve all heard and/or used this saying. It can apply to what I am experiencing with waiting for the oil paintings to dry before varnishing them and sending them out to the Kickstarter patrons who so generously supported me.

I think a lot of the delay in drying has to do with temperature. Its winter and colder than in the summer in my house. My wood stove’s heat doesn’t always reach into the studio. And we have had a long period of cloudy days here, reducing the solar warming coming from the sun room that is attached to the studio. I’ve been keeping the glass door closed but its still a bit chilly in the studio. I’ve been wearing lined carhardt jeans and fleece while painting. Sometimes I even put on my “house hat”.

Gray cloudy day and my snowy driveway and pv panels.

Gray cloudy day and my snowy driveway and pv panels.

One painting in particular is still tacky to touch and a tiny bit of the color comes up if I press on the edge of the painting. I emailed with the manufacturer of the varnish (after that ugly experience of the varnish lifting the paint off the canvas) who informed me of a possible problem. They said that the color I used, titanium white, may not have had enough binder in it or a poor quality binder. So I am going to buy a higher quality titanium white. Its a color that I use a lot of so I really need it to work as it should. The solution for the paintings is just time as it will eventually dry.

So on I go, painting and waiting for the little wet ones to dry. I may be frustrated but at least I feel optimistic about my art!

 

Recipe for Transforming a Place

How do you transform a place from looking at it into a painting?

First take the feeling you get when you are out there and adsorb it. Next grab a sketch pad and outline how the air, light and sound run around in your blood. Then start painting with something basic (watercolors or other plein air paints) to put down what is budding in your psyche. Ferment those feelings and ideas until they bubble over and then wait just a bit more until you can’t sleep for dreaming how you are going to squeeze out the colors on your palette. After that, go into the studio, remember the song the place whispered into your brain, the smells on the breeze and the feelings in your numb fingers. And paint.

Photo looking south at Fruit Growers' Reservoir, Hart's Basin, CO near Eckert.

Photo looking south at Fruit Growers’ Reservoir, Hart’s Basin, CO near Eckert.

12" x 9" Watercolor "Mesa & Marsh"

12″ x 9″ Watercolor “Mesa & Marsh”

14" x 11" oil "Mesa & Marsh"

14″ x 11″ oil
“Mesa & Marsh”

I know my writing is not eloquent and pretty basic,  but it gets my point across.

For this post, let me just say I am happy with the resulting oil painting. Now to patiently let it dry for a month or so.

Not dry yet – oil painting takes a hit…

This morning I set out to vanish the oil paintings I thought were dry. Here is the set up in the sun room adjoining my studio. I’m using Gamblin’s Gamvar picture varnish with a touch of Gamsol in it to make the varnish less glossy.

Table full of paintings

Table full of paintings

I tested each painting to see if it was dry to the pressure of a finger nail and they all seemed to be.

Before varnishing

Before varnishing

Wet varnish

Wet varnish

You can see the difference in the unvarnished painting ‘Before varnishing’ and the one that has the varnish brushed on it ‘Wet varnish’. It will not be as glossy when it is dry as I added a tiny bit of Gamsol to it to make it less glossy and more satin.

All went well on the paintings that I finished mid-September. I then brushed varnish on one of the paintings I did in the beginning of November. This one was one of the ones I did last, so it should be the least dry. Things went well and the varnish and paint seemed to be doing what they should. I thought all the paintings were dry and ready. I was expecting to get these varnished, soon to dry and then to ship off to my Kickstarter patrons at that level.

But on, no, that was not to be. I started varnishing the second one, which had just passed the finger nail dryness test when I noticed things turning cloudy. And it was the clouds. The varnish was lifting off the sky – blue and white paint were being removed and spread on the rest of the painting. Dag nab it (well that wasn’t exactly what I said.)

Oh, Crap!

Oh, Crap!

This is not good.

This is not good.

You can see in the top of these two paintings where the under-painting is exposed and the sky and background are removed. Also the rag has some of the paint from the painting on it. Now I will wait for the varnish to dry a bit and try to repair the areas with bare canvas. Oh, I am very sad about this but it also recalls the old adage: Patience is a virtue. Fortunately I have a resilient spirit and am already recovered and ready to fix what went wrong.

Painting at Hart’s Basin.

Looking south across the reservoir.

Looking south across the reservoir.

Unfinished watercolor done at Hart's Basin.

Unfinished watercolor done at Hart’s Basin.

Today I went to Hart’s Basin near Eckert, CO. I needed a break from the indoor studio and had to get outside. The day started foggy and raining but was supposed to clear by mid-morning. I packed some hot tea, my watercolor plein air kit, extra fleece and the dog. I got in the truck & headed west.

By the time I got to the reservoir, the fog had lifted and the clouds were fluffing across the sky. I set up my paints and put the dog in the back of the truck as there were lots of water birds. As Tova is a black lab, it was the responsible thing to do. There were lots of coots, mergansers, Sandhill cranes and some other unidentified ducks. The water was turning lovely colors from slate to blue to tan. The plants were in their early winter colors of tans, oranges, golds and browns. It was lovely.

Sandhill crane

Sandhill crane

Some coots swimming, diving and quacking.

Some coots swimming, diving and quacking.

I got out the viewfinder and picked a scene looking south across the reservoir. I did a quick sketch on the watercolor pad and started laying in my color layers.

Getting my set-up out

Getting my set-up out

My outdoor watercolor studio.

My outdoor watercolor studio.

After a while the cloud cover increased and I noticed my paints getting a bit thick and my fingers a little unresponsive. So I put on the heavier gloves and a headband under my fuzzy hat and enjoyed the view. The water fowl were busy fishing, diving, quacking, making other assorted noises, splashing and flapping around. It was almost too much for Tova but she stayed in the truck, quietly whining to let me know she really wanted me to stop painting and let her jump in the water and get some birds. I closed her in the truck, packed up and headed home, heater blasting.

Tova, almost beside herself as she can't go after those birds!

Tova, almost beside herself as she can’t go after those birds!

I’d like to go back out there another day t0 paint the adobe cliffs. And work on my water painting techniques. Hopefully next time I’ll have my oil pochade box ready…..!