Thursday, November 29, 2018

View from the Bomb Factory

Since the weather turned tolerable, I've started painting outdoors again, usually with Phil and Claude. This past month we painted in Bywater area of New Orleans, for the eclectic mix of blight, swank, and funk. I really enjoy just being in Bywater.

One day Phil texted us soliciting ideas for the next painting location. My first answer was Japonica and N. Robertson at the edge of the Upper 9th.

one of my favorite views in the city
The studio painting above is from 2014, and 24"x36" on canvas. The bridge is the Claiborne Bridge over the Industrial Canal.  Below is from this month.

View from the Bomb Factory
oil on muslin and Gatorfoam, 12"x8"
I've been experimenting with different painting surfaces again. When I paint with others I can hitch a ride, but when I'm alone the weight of the painting gear becomes a problem rather quickly even on a short bike ride. Instead of getting into better physical fitness, my solution has always been to look for the lightest painting gear.

Gatorfoam Board had been on my radar for a while because of its light weight and warp-resistant hard surface. It's basically a foam core board sandwiched with ultra thin wooden veneers, and they are used most commonly for indoor signage. The surface is water proof and a lot of watercolorists use them as a support for stretching watercolor paper. The foam core center, which is exposed on the sides, will deteriorate when oil paint or solvent touches it. Most oil painters would adhere gessoed linen onto the board using rabbit skin glue or PVA. But I hate canvases and I can't afford linen.

Muslin is used, among other things, for diffusing lights in film production, and we had a huge roll of it in the closet. It's thinner and has a much smoother surface than canvases, and it's perfect for the light weight painting surface. View from the Bomb Factory above was the second painting I made on muslin and Gatorfoam: I really liked painting on it.

It takes so much time and labor just to prepare the panels, and I'm not sure if I can continue justifying the time I'm NOT actually painting. There are pre-made panels for sale but they are so damn expensive because they use linen instead of muslin (and oil primed! highest quality!). And Gatorfoam alone ain't cheap either.

(The Bomb Factory, by the way, is across the street from this fenced area in the paintings, and they do magical restorations on classic cars and hot rods. Hi Rick!)