Oil paint was first used on paintings in Europe by the Flemish painters, Jan and Hubert Van Eyck, during the early 15th century. The result was a glowing translucent finish to the paintings replacing the flatness of the previously used egg tempera. Jan Van Eyck introduced the techniques of glazing (layers of transparent colour) to enhance the brilliance of his painted surfaces. These early paintings were on wood panels, canvas being introduced late in the 15th century in Venice. Well fancy that!
Of the 23 blokes in the current Men on Show exhibition at Artroomers Artspace, 12 are oil painters where the different styles of painting make for a very informative exhibition. Justin Pearson uses heavy impasto techniques bringing a textural dimension to his work where you can sense the physical activity involved in making the painting whereas the calmer, even careful, application of paint by Phil Turton and Anthony Rofe are appropriate for their quiet, gentle still life subjects.
A more painterly application of paint by Phil Alldis, Bruce Woods, Tony Hull and Phil Russell contribute to the atmospheric moods of their respective paintings. Phil Alldis and Bruce Woods use low tones (darker palette) to suggest some mystery,
while Phil Russell and Tony Hull bathe their paintings in sunshine and higher tones and therefore more colour
as do Frank Hooke and Ron Stannard.
Scraffitto is a technique used by many artists including ceramicists, where the surface is scratched into in order to expose another level of paint or colour. Scott Watson and Harry Pidgeon have “scraffittoed” parts of their painting surfaces in order to acquire a textured surface compatible with their subject matter.
Scott Watson cuts through his paint and into the board itself thus adding weight to his abstracted Australian bush while Harry Pidgeon exposes the colour under the surface paint in order to describe more about the ordered land and its taming by mankind. Ian Hunter approaches his fanciful myth-like subjects with the attention needed to describe his subjects’ environments. He uses the simple painting techniques so often used by political mural painters such as the Mexican Muralists of the early 20th century in order to convey his narrative or message.
Modern oil paints include alkyd (fast drying), water soluble (supposed to be less toxic) and oil sticks (essentially oil paint in a solid block or stick which is protected by a dry skin that needs to be removed before using the stick).
Ian Jones’ contemporary approach in his paintings are experimental in their abstract subject and in the use of oil sticks.
Traditional oil paint is still most popular and is merely pigment suspended in a drying oil such as linseed. Used straight, this is a perfectly safe paint. It is when solvents, ANY solvents, including “non toxic” or “odourless” ones are used that the paint becomes a sensitiser – ie toxic – and should be used with great caution. Even cleaning brushes is better done using raw linseed oil (cheap and purchased at the hardware shop) rather than turps, followed by warm soapy water.
Artroomers stocks all types of oil paint, and mediums. Brands include Winsor and Newton, Art Spectrum, WN Artisan (water soluble), Chroma Archival (alkyd) and Sennelier Oil sticks
Phone 48713565 for any enquiries.