What do you mean by gessoed card, what is MDF, do you buy your boards ready made? For the small paintings I use sheets of 4mm thick card or MDF (a composite wood board like Masonite) which I cut with a Stanley knife/boxcutter into assorted sizes. I like to keep a few weeks of boards ready but I can prepare boards in the morning for use that day if I have a particular subject which requires a certain format. I sand the edges to remove any burs and then apply two to three coats of acrylic gesso. Again I can control the smoothness of the surface by sanding or conversely by applying thick brushy strokes to get a textured surface if a certain subject or approach requires it.
What colours do you use, do you use a limited palette? I use a fairly limited set of base colours from various manufacturers. I like to use four W&N Alkyd colours; Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and Permanent Alizaron Crimson. Other colours I like to be bound with linseed oil: Yellow Ochre (W&N/OH), Cadmium yellow med.(W&N), a vermillion like red such as Old Holland's Bright red, or cadmium red (though I'm trying to reduce my reliance on toxic colours), one other blue - either ceruleum, manganese(OH) or pthalo makes up the minimum set. I also often use Micheal Harding's pthalo green and his Bright green lake and Old Holland's Corail red (a bright orange), in the studio I keep Mars and Ivory blacks a Venetian or English red for portraits and a whole bunch of violets for painting irises (MH's bright pink is useful here too)
How do you start a painting and how long do they take? I tend to start by blocking in the main forms with Burnt Sienna and an Ultramarine/Burnt Sienna mix. I still occasionally make the mistake of adding white too soon and end up with an unholy mess, so I get as far as I can into the painting before I introduce opaque mixes. The small paintings take between 40 mins and a couple hours to complete.
Some useful painting sites/inspiration
- Marc Dalessio
- Paul Foxton's Learning to see
- Terry Miura
- James Gurney
- Stapleton Kearns
- Christopher Gallego
- T. Allen Lawson
- Richard schmid
Do you give lessons or hold workshops? Yes...see here
What software do you use for your auction? The auction was built for me by a friend. It has quite limited functionality but does what I need it to pretty well faultlessly. I'm sure any extremely talented code writer could create something similar for you (for an arm and a leg).
Why do you auction your paintings? After a small article appeared in the NYTimes the demand for each new painting created quite a headache (though I'm not complaining). The auction system made it possible to automate the selling process leaving me more time to paint and even a little to spend with my family.