These paintings are built to last a century or more. The substrate is a quarter-inch panel of Baltic birch plywood, set on a cradle of premium pine. I apply a PVA coating to seal off any resins from the wood. Then I add several coatings of gesso, then a final coat of matte medium or titanium white so the colors don’t seep into the gesso and lose some of their chromatic intensity.
I work exclusively in oils and use a glazing technique, building up multiple layers to achieve a deep, saturated, glowing effect. I try to avoid mixing tube colors; I want a look that is less “painterly” and more immediate and primary. If I want to combine colors, then I glaze one over the other instead of mixing them when wet.
With glazing, my core palette is made up almost exclusively of transparent oil colors. These include:
* Hansa Yellow, Indian Yellow, and Sap Green from M. Graham. I’m impressed with the way M. Graham can balance transparency with strong hues.
* Viridian Hue from Georgian. This is a much livelier Viridian than you usually find, with undertones of yellow. I sometimes mix it with Gamlin’s Turquoise.
* Dioxazine Purple, Payne’s Gray, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Mars Black, and Burnt Sienna from Gamlin. I trust these colors to be stable and environmentally well-positioned.
* Titanium White, Transparent White, Raw Sienna, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson from Winsor & Newton. Alizarin has been my go-to red for years, but I’m using a Rose Madder more these days.
I also use Liquin Original from Winsor & Newton as a medium to accelerate drying.
After the painting is finished, I apply original gloss Gamvar varnish by Gamlin. As the company explains, Gamvar is a water-clear varnish designed to saturate and give greater depth to the colors in an oil painting while giving the work a unified and protective semi-gloss surface.