Two Nocturnes; Two surfaces

Blaine Nocturne 1. Oil on Linen Panel. 6" x 8". $110.
Blaine Nocturne 2. Oil on #359 Linen Panel. 6" x 8". $110.

Great art show at Loomis Hall in Blaine on Friday night! The building was completely cool - really the nicest building in Whatcom County these days - and the view from the roof breathtaking.

Nocturnes were the province of Whistler. He did them first and it's not possible to take up a nocturne painting without thinking about him out on the Thames in a rowboat. He was an oil painter and preferred an absorbent surface for painting so that the paint soaked in - no brush strokes visible - and only the weave of the cloth showed, 'like breath on glass.'

Yesterday I worked on a nocturne of the view from the roof of Loomis Hall and it turned into two paintings. Note: the following will be keenly interesting only to oil painters.

So, here's the deal: I've been using these great panels from Windriverarts in Texas. Nice people, lovely linen panels. I started out on a small panel, oil primed w/ linen C13 but it wasn't working out. The surface was rough but non-absorbent and so the paint wasn't covering very well. Every brush stroke was visible, the darks were too thin. So I picked up a different panel, alkyd primed, w/ linen 359 and the darks soaked right in. Lovely. Thing is, so did the lights. It soaked up my lights. A nocturne without points of light is a little dull and the Blaine harbor below Loomis Hall was full of light.

Today both paintings were dry and I took them up again. The non-absorbent one that looked terrible at the start, took the second coat in a beautiful build-up and the lights stayed right on top of the darks. I mixed the lights with the most opaque titanium/cad mix possible to help with that. The alkyd primed absorbent one, 359, soaked up the darks again, for a lovely matte look, and still soaked up some of the light, but the cad is managing to sit on the surface a bit.

In the end, just two coats, I'm very happy with both surfaces.


Ann Chaikin said…
I really like your night paintings. And your choice to call them "Nocturnes" since I'm a musician as well as a painter. Beautiful paintings.