18 October, 2015. For the past several years now my oil kit has gathered dust, largely due to a growing apprehension about the toxicity of cadmiums and the use of solvents. Meanwhile, I learned to enjoy the freedom of expressive pen lines, and the splash, sizzle, and dazzle of watercolor. Still, I’ve missed being able to simply push paint around on a gesso board or canvas…it’s almost like a sculptural experience.
A year ago one of my art supply reps told me about how Gamblin paints could be used entirely solvent-free, and that the paint wasn’t toxic. (Don’t take my word for it – you’ll need to do your own due diligence when it comes to stuff that could slowly kill you.) I promptly ignored the basic kit he provided me, reminding myself that I was now a drawing/watercolor artist.
A couple weeks ago I began joining a plein air group on Saturday mornings. I got out the test kit, supplemented it with a couple of additional primaries (the test kit needed to have the contrasting cool or warm primary added to satisfactorily complete the color spectrum) and began to paint in oils again. In some ways it’s a little like riding a bike – I’ve always enjoyed quick oil paintings en plein air. But I need to exercise my chops and bring back the accomplishment I’ve allowed to atrophy over the better part of a decade. (Oil on gesso panel, approximately 10 x 8 inches, about 45 minutes – Watkins Mill State Park, Missouri.)