Adding Physical Texture to Oil Paintings

A few students and peers recently asked about different options to create *physical* texture in your 2d visual art. Of course, the most obvious option is the use of a palette knife but there are many more. You can build up a foundation before painting (modeling) or mix products with your paint (aggregate). A few are included here with a few links to help you start your research:

- fullers earth
- Light modeling paste (use for acrylic when weight is a factor)
- Ground Glass (Venitians added glass when grinding/mixing pigments technique)
- Resin Sand (alkyds contain resins - like with like)
- Natural Sand / Fine Sand (make sure it's clean)
- Black lava to give sparkle to transparent colors
- Liquitex makes a fibrous gel that creates a fiber effect when it dries
- polyfilla to thicken paint
- Plaster (Fresco) or Venetian Plaster
- Sawdust on wood foundation
- Paper Mache or cloth bound to bear cloth
- Encaustic (mixed with pigment)

Each of these can be an entire art form in it's on right and might be worth researching or taking classes in a given medium that you love.

The most important thing to keep in mind is cohesiveness. Like sticks to like but unlike products (or laying medium in between coats or trying to lay a slick synthetic product over an oil based product) can create a weak bond that will cause peeling and other problems later. Basically, read each product to understand how it bonds. I don't allow many of these products in my studio and suggest researching their health and environmental attributes.

On a Funny Note: If you know me personally, ask me the next time you see me what my father taught us to mix in order to make projects glow in the dark.


Gallery Talk: This Friday September 19th 7:30pm

Gallery Talk on Plein Air Painting
This Friday September 19th
7:30pm - 8:30pm
@ ArtSpace Herndon
750 Center Street,
Herndon VA 20170
Free to the public
Collectors & Gallery managers welcome

Come enjoy this light, interactive talk and the beautiful work of 12 professional Plein Air artists at ArtSpace gallery. Hear about the artists and their work. Learn how painters overcome challenges during Plein Air competitions and enjoy their experience while painting outside.


L. Diane Johnson - QuickSketch Place Winner

Artist L. Diane Johnson one of the Quick Sketch winners created one of my favorite rain paintings at the show. Her old wood sailboat in a neighbor's yard with striking raindrops across it captured that day perfectly along with the sense of this old boat which is constantly being renovated against the efforts of the elements.

You'll have to click on the photo above by Charles Neenan to see the bottom painting more clearly.

L. Diane Johnson knows that I have a lot to thank her for. When we were first organizing this show, we started by making a lot of big mistakes ... easily about 20 by my count. Diane humored me and kindly accepted my phonecalls seeking advice - she (along with a few other advising artists who didn't participate) helped us avoid serious pitfalls.

I was so pleased to see that the Jury accepted Diane into the show because I knew I'd have a chance to meet this amazingly generous artist in person. Thank you Diane - And congratulations on your Quick Sketch prize!


A photo to remember: Competition Judging

I love this photo of the private session where judges were given time to privately view the competition artwork 2 hours before the opening of the "Reveal" exhibit last Monday. This photo captured the many contemplative and working stages of the artists during and after judging. From left to right:
- David Diaz and Denise Dumont discussing how the judging point system works
- L. Diane Johnson looking up the titles of the artwork she chose
- an officiant in blue dress waiting for final ballots
- Morgan Samuel Price chatting with Ned Mueller as he holds her book and looks at her new Plein Air paintings for the first time
- Christine Lashley considering the work of David Diaz (off Camera)


Morgan Samuel Price: Quick Sketch Grand Prize Winner

Morgan Samuel Price is a picture of grace and professionalism. She seemed to be traveling to other events from the day her manager applied for this competition until the day she arrived in Herndon. She never even had an opportunity to print the Artist's Notes or the events schedule. Yet she kept her cool and rolled with the activities like the pro she is. Every time I saw her, she was relaxed, supportive of the other artists, productive and seemed sincerely joyful. Clearly, with so many important things on her schedule, she could have declined to come to our first annual show. But, I think it demonstrates a lot of class that she decided to a risk on us and be part of the first group to exhibit at ArtSpace Herndon.

But, before I focus too much on who she is ... I'd love to tell you what she does!

Morgan's work reflects her personality: Subtle, strong, graceful and you know upon studying it that you'll enjoy it for a long time. She has a very sophisticated palette which many of us (artists) might find difficult to handle. Her cool greys, blues and soft greens are always clean and balanced with an amazing use of strong outdoor values/contrast. Her brushstrokes are confident ... even precise ... but fluid. Her whites are so pure that I had a dream one night that Ned Mueller told me "Morgan puts coconut powder in her white paint". Of course - that's ridiculous but those of you who love the pure white of coconut might understand why I would have such a dream.

The effect is that she creates work which is distinctly hers, exciting to study but easy on the eye. We put one of Morgan's waterfall paintings at the entrance of the show because rather than jumping off the wall, it draws you in and engages you in conversation. Looking at Morgans work gave me the most wonderful feeling of assurance that beautiful, enduring things exist in our transient world. (photo by Charles Neenan)


Trisha Adams - Selling like hotcakes - as usual

Sold within hours of the show opening ... The First Plein Air painting to sell at the ArtSpace exhibit was created by Trisha Adams. I'm not surprised - Trisha seems to be a top selling artist everywhere she goes and her Plein Air work created this weekend was as strong as her studio paintings.


Judges Pondering and Gallery Wandering

Here are some of my favorite photos of judges wandering and later, people wandering around the gallery enjoying art.

photos by Charles Neenan


Denise Dumont - Prize Winning Artist

Federal St. Middleburg Virginia - award winning painting by Denise Dumont

photo by Charles Neenan

Denise is an up-and-coming artist in the Plein Air community - and definately one to watch. She has been seriously painting for only 4 years and is already a strong competitor at Plein Air competitions with work rivaling that of people who have been painting 20 years. Her winning artwork is in the center frame in this photo. It won the "
The "HFCA, Appreciation of Excellence in Plein Air Painting" sponsored by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

Interestingly, all three of the winning artists from this exhibit had backgrounds in illustration.


ArtSpace Grand Opening (Photos)

photos by Charles Neenan
The photographers shared more photos today of the ArtSpace Grand Opening day. It looked like about 75 people signed in during the day and over 100 people showed up to see the new space, inquire about programs/classes/workshops/events etc. and see the first exhibit. With great photos arriving daily ... My next few blog posts will be on the September exhibit.


Paint Herndon: Ned Mueller wins an award

Ned Mueller took an award at Paint Herndon. I'm proudly standing here with him in front of his winning painting.

Photo by Walter Ratliff


Paint Herndon QuickSketch photo

photo by Charles Neenan

We had a lot of fun with the quicksketch with categories for the finest Plein Air paintings and youth as well. Here's a photo taken just as the judging began.


The Old Stone Church painting by Grand Prize winner Jim Lamb

Jim Lamb's Painting of the Old Stone Church owned by Doug Downer (correction, I previously said it was owned by Richard & Linda Downer but it's actually owned by their son). Recently, we noticed that the building was undergoing a transformation as it was simultaneously restored and updated. Come inside and say you saw my blog - they are always welcoming and happy to show the space.


Paint Herndon - September Exhibit

WOW! Paint Herndon was a blast and many the paintings that came in were simply amazing. Everyone seems to have a favorite. Paintings started selling before the Awards event even began!

Here's a photo my husband took of Jim Lamb, the Grand Prize Winner talking to Linda Downer. During the QuickSketch competition, Jim created a great painting of the old stone church building where Richard & Linda Downer have their company office in the historic district. Their son Doug Downer recently restored this beautiful old building. If you're ever on Pine street, Herndon VA stop by - you can't miss it.

Paint Herndon Winners!

Today, the Paint Herndon Plein Air Competition continued as a fine art exhibit at ARTSPACE Herndon Gallery. All of the paintings are available for purchase and you are invited to visit and see this wonderful show. Gallery Open: Sept 1st - Sept 27th (Tues - Sun 10-2 daily) and by appointment.

1) 1st Place, Herndon Paint Out, Plein Air Competition
Virginia Farm, by Jim Lamb

2) Plein Air Artistic Excellence Award

Sunday Morning, by Ned Mueller

3) Herndon Foundation for the Cultural Arts, Appreciation of Excellence in Plein Air Painting
Federal St. Middleburg Virginia, by Denise Dumont


The Art of Squinting

The PAINT HERNDON Quick Sketch is going on right now! TODAY!
Photographer Stan Schretter captured Mindy Flexor Painting on the street during Paint Herndon. I chuckled because it's so cute - and I thought this captured the fine art of squinting that all artists seem to master somewhere along the way.
Photo by Stan Schretter