Sunday, August 28, 2011

Another portrait in progress

Approx. 40 x 60 cm in acrylics on canvas.
Model sat for an afternoon; this is halfway done.

Somewhat sadly, when the session was almost finished, I had a lot of paint out on the palette, so I whipped up
another portrait of the same guy, in about 10-15 minutes, and that one was much better, if somewhat imprecise.

Portrait studies

Did some studies for painted portraits; the painting themselves are no good.
These 5,10 and 15 minute studies are somewhat better.
Live model, home made charcoal, newsprint sketch paper ca 70 x 40 cm.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Susanna taking a shower

In some versions of the Old Testament, the Book of Daniel has a chapter 13, which tells the story of a beauty called Susanna, who at some point needed a bath in a park. She was followed, and spied on, by two horny old geezers, who - well, if anyone is interested, the story has the details. The short of it is that Daniel saves her from certain death using lawyerly tactics, cross-examining the geezers, and the key element involves an Oak tree (Quercus -) and a Mastic bush (Pistacia Lenticus). Being an icelander, I don't know Mastic, especially its size relative to the Oak, but this is all symbolic anyway. These are supposed to be the leaves of Quercus Robur, which is especially suited to aging wine.

(BTW: which version is the one true word of God himself, the one with or without Daniel 13 ?)

This is done with acrylics, 40 x 50 cm

Sunday, June 12, 2011


This man lives in the middle of Europe, a days drive away from the sea, but seeing him squint against the sun while telling stories reminds me of a pirate -a nice pirate. I whipped this portrait up from a photograph, too quickly, of course.

Size A3, approx. 30 x 40 cm, an assortment of pastels and Schminke fixative.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

More pastels

Here I have made a portrait of Prof. Chomsky, from a still photo of his lecture on terrible conditions in the Gaza strip, at MIT's Wong auditorium at MIT, January 2009. He had just turned 80 at that point.

I wish my portrait adequately showed my respect for the man and his work, but I don't have the skills for that.

This is done on A3-size paper, of an unfortunate red color (the podium background was similarly red, I thought I should try to capture that). During fixing, the paper bulged up, not being of good quality.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pastel Fixing

Disappointed with the effect fixatives have on pastel images, I tried to make my own. I tried two Casein-based solutions,
"F" : approx. 3% solution of Schmincke's casein solution "Kasein Bindemittel"
(doesn't say what solvent is used), which I diluted with Isopropyl alcohol, and
"P": Guardi "Kaseinpulver fuer Boraxkasein", which I dissolved in warm water
and Isopropyl alcohol (took forever to dissolve, and eventually clogged my mist-pump).

Originally, I weighed out powder for a 3% solution, but the powder didn't dissolve
well in the isopropyl alcohol; I added water and heated the goo for a better solvency,
still took a long time. Solution percentages uncertain at this point.

The first results are in:
The horizontal strips on both sides are untreated, the middle strip is sprayed with "Schmincke Fixativ fuer Kohle und Bleistift", made of bleached Shellack and solvent.
The other two strips are sprayed with the F or P solutions as labelled above.
The "P" strip, made with a water/isopropyl solution causes the most bulging of the underlying paper. Both the commercial, and the solution of fluid casein and isopropyl alcohol alone, didn't cause any warping.

The commercial fixative from Schminke has the best "hold" on the pastel pigment, but is noticeably darker than the rest. My two solutions are less discoloring, but also don't have as good a "hold". (However, they hold well enough that the pigment doesn't fly off the paper by itself.)

I was unable to spray exactly the same amounts, as this was done manually and erratically, from self-primed mist-sprayers. This in itself may explain the difference in the darkening and hold.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Almost a century

This Sunday my father celebrated his 90th birthday.
On this occasion, I whipped up this portrait, in acrylics, of my parents. the picture is 100 x 70 cm.