Art Demons……

…….trations. Help!

Yes, it’s supposed to read “Art Demonstrations “. In my Bookmark section, I’ve noted a site that only  had enough room in the side margin for the words ” Art Demons…..”

Was not lost on me. The demons are hovering and influencing the dulling of paint on my canvas.


“Strong ” 10X12 oil/panel

I’m following strict instructions not to use turps while painting, and still my finish here looks dull. I’ve been using paint out of the tube, no mediums, no turps but still find a lack of the sheen that is the trademark of oils.

I don’t know if painting on a toned, linen panel makes a more absorbent surface and does require some medium in the mix.

I’d really appreciate some suggestions. I had high hopes for this stoic, hardworking farmer. He deserved more than a lackluster representation.

Chili Pepper is working towards the same goal of getting Strong.


He’s a circuit trainer, working his way up from 3 lbs. He does NOT suffer a lackluster existence.

28 Responses to “Art Demons……”

  1. judith wolfe Says:

    Chili Pepper looks very buffed and toned. I like your painting – shiny or not.

  2. ted Says:

    Love the Chili Pepper Gym! hot!

  3. Donald Diddams Says:

    I like the painting, especially the light on his face and the bright glow coming up behind him in the lower right — like a streak of sunlight on a shiny wall. Of course, the surface quality doesn’t translate on the computer screen, and I know nothing about paint anyway. I do know how important those tactile qualities can be, though, so I hope you get it figured out to your satisfaction. It’s always better to be satisfied. Just ask that cat.

  4. Carol King Says:

    The strong man looks great to me. I don’t know nuthin’ bout oil paint, but maybe you need to use linseed oil?

    Love Chili siting by the weights. Got tired of doing those flys and curls?

  5. Jala Pfaff Says:

    We must banish your art demons. Note: You ARE allowed to use a medium while painting if you like using one, but not turps. Let’s see, what else have we not covered….? What kind of surface exactly are you using, and how has it been prepared prior to painting?

  6. Jala Pfaff Says:

    P.S. Did you already oil it out and it’s still dull?

  7. Jala Pfaff Says:

    P.P.S. Also need to know: What brand of oil paints are you using? And, do all colors dry equally dull on your painting?

  8. Jala Pfaff Says:

    P.P.P.S. Are you using a varnish or a retouch varnish after it’s dried dull, and if so, did it help?

  9. Jala Pfaff Says:

    By the way, AWESOME painting!

  10. Marian Fortunati Says:

    Liquin is something I knew about but didn’t use much until I took Frank’s workshop. Now I really like it!! Just enough to get the paint squishy but not runny… Keeps it nice and shiny too.

    BUT BUT BUT…. that painting is NOT NOT NOT and never will be lackluster!!!!
    Another STRONG painting by a STRONG woman!!

  11. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Don-you know what it is to see in your mind what you want, and to feel the finished result is not it. Or maybe we’re all too critical. Dang it anyway- it’s the process that teaches us.
    Oh, and several amazing comments from Jala!

    Carolla— think you’re right about the linseed oil. Chili is in between sets. My state of being all the time.

    Jala, Jala, Jala, Jala, Jala, Jala!!!! Your comments are getting a special response. Check your email! 🙂

    Marian- Thanks for the good words. And I know other painters that use Liquin and although I have it, haven’t really tried it but once. I’m never sure if I want the paint to dry or stay wet so it can be blended. So many options, it’s like cooking…….

    Thanks everyone for the input!

  12. Ginger Says:

    I had the same problem when I first started oil painting. One of my art teachers taught me to use a mix of equal parts turp, linseed oil, and damar varnish. I keep the mix in pickle jars. Then, when I’m ready to paint, I pour 1/2″ into a small can. I use my pallette knife to put a drop on each dollop of paint on my pallette and to mix it in (I like a sour cream consistency). The paint goes on very smoothly, is still workable for alla prima work (remember, I paint plein air) , and dries within 2 days for touchups, sometimes sooner. The final finish is nice and silky too. I use odorless mineral spirits to clean my brush (and sometimes me) while I’m painting because I got complaints that my turp was too stinky and I also came across one person who was allergic to it. The mineral spirits work fine, however I don’t use it in my 3 part mix because I’m not sure I’d get the same results as with the turp. I’m painting on stretched cotton canvas that I order from Jerry’s. It is called The Edge by Creative mark. The canvas is stretched onto the back so I have a nice paintable edge and has been treated with an acid-free primer, so it’s suitable for oil and acrylic paints. They sell them in packages of 6, so it’s a pretty good deal, especially when they have a sale.
    I hope I’ve been able to help, but if not, hope you eventually find something workable.

  13. Joanne Says:

    Since I have only painted one oil painting, I have no answers for your “problem” of no shine… but I do know a fine painting when I see one, and this is yet another beautiful painting! I’ll bet there are people who are saying “How does she DO that… paint with oil, yet have such a matte finish?” They will be coming after you to have you teach this wonderful new technique that no one else is currently using! So when will you be having that workshop, and what will the weather be like when we reach St. Croix??? 🙂

  14. w1kkp Says:

    “You know what it is to see in your mind what you want, and to feel the finished result is not it?”

    The mirror gives me this experience every morning. Is there a three part solution for that??

    When I do crafts with my grand nieces and nephews, there’s not a project we do that doesn’t end up with a little glitter on it to help any lackluster demons.

    But, I don’t suppose glitter would help a painter. But, I’m going to try it on my face this morning because you just never know…plus, I can afford it as opposed to those creams at Sephora.

    Helpful, ain’t I?

  15. w1kkp Says:

    Oh, I forgot to say anything about your painting! Your fabrics–the colors and textures always seem to stand out, sort of like John Singer Sargent.

  16. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Ask and you shall receive! Thanks everyone for very valuable insight.

    Ginger- you got the personal note and I thank you for the lengthy suggestions.

    Joanne- love your humorous take on everything and am always glad when you stop by here. If I ever needed to know how to ace watercolors, I’d be asking YOU.

    Now about when all of you arrive……..really, it would be a dream for me to have half a dozen, ok a dozen, ok ALL the regular blogger friends descend on St Croix and have a painting marathon followed by beverages with paper umbrellas on the beach at sunset.

    Pat- you’re included in this bonanza because it will require superb documentation, witty repartee, and a skilled lens.
    That would be you.
    To your John Singer Sargent? I see you and raise you a Weegee.

  17. Melinda Says:

    I read through the comments here, but didn’t see the suggestion to use a dark ground to start.

    You can use a darker color intermittently under any place where you want the lights to be lighter too. However, I love your painting just the way it is. I also use the one third turp, one third linseed and varnish, when I’m not using water based oils.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and helping me to see what I could not!

  18. Nancy Moskovitz Says:

    I don’t know how shiny you want, but Archival Classic Oil Medium gives a rich finish. Recently I saw work applied thickly using linseed oil alone as a medium. very shiny, but not sure if it’s the best idea. I’d research before trying it.

    Kudos on another wonderful painting based on a strong composition. I especially like the color variations in the light part of his shirt. No doubt it’s even more sumptuous in person.

  19. razzbuffnik Says:

    Nice painting.

    Maybe you need to prime your canvas a little more as it might be too porous and absorbent. Perhaps you could “oil it out”, to bring back the lustre.

  20. mary Says:

    love the painting, worried about the workout circuit. Are guests required to join Chilli Pepper?

  21. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Melinda- thanks for stopping to write. I’ve now been using the tiniest bit of that very same one third mixture you talked about. It seems to work really well.
    PS- appreciate the mention on your blog page. Dang it- I wrote you a long comment and wordpress disappeared it saying I had to ” log in “. One of the mysterious malfunctions of an otherwise darn good host.

    Nancy- funny you said that- I thought I got a good capture of the aged, almost vintage-y look to his shirt.
    We do lose some in the transferring to the blog.
    That would then mean that your still life with roses would blind me with gorgeousness.

    Razz- yes! Oiling out was mentioned to me by another great artist of the blogs, Jala Pfaff. It’s quick, painless and easy.
    And very effective.
    You are a surprising font of information on so many subjects.

    Mary- get ready. You’re probably already in good form from lifting so many camera lenses.
    Maybe you can just lift Chili Pepper when you get here.

  22. razzbuffnik Says:

    “You are a surprising font of information on so many subjects.”

    I know a little about everything and a lot about nothing.

  23. wrjones Says:

    Another strong composition, Bonnie. Very painterly.

    You can use liquin as a medium which I use by having a little on my palette and dipping the brush into it when I want a smoother flow. Liquin speeds the drying quite a bit. If I want the paint to flow easier but dry slower I just add linseed oil to the white paint (which usually gets mixed a little with all the other colors).

    Anyway – after the painting has dried you can use straight Liquin from the bottle (I move it from the glass bottle it comes in to a plastic squeeze bottle) by squirting a few spots on the painting then brushing it out into a thin coat. This protects the painting and gives it a glossy look.

  24. Sharon Crute Says:

    Do you paint with umbers? They tend to dry dull and sink in. Re-touch varnish brings them back to life, if fact, it brings all colors back to original vibrancy.

    Another beautiful gestural piece. You certainly capture the moment with feeling.

  25. Jala Pfaff Says:

    Was just reading through all the follow-up comments. Looks like you’re using your medium again, glad to hear it’s working so far.
    I will also volunteer to lift Chili Pepper!

  26. Faye Says:

    This is very nice, Bonnie. I especially love the brushwork and composition.

  27. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Bill- I’ve played a bit with Liquin. I know a lot of plein air painters who use it and like it. It dries a bit plastic-y looking but I agree it does make the paint slide right on.

    Sharon- I’ll remember that about umbers and I recall that’s true of many ” earth ” colors. It’s all about experimenting. Getting skin tones for darker skin is a tricky one too.

    Jala- Chili is the best training partner. He lifts one, rests twelve.

    Faye- thanks for stopping by- I like cropped bodies or cropped anything, actually. I saved some paintings I did when I was 16 ( a looooong time ago ) and even then, I always had a motif falling off the edge.
    Makes the negative shape more interesting although at that time I didn’t even know why!

  28. Eldon Says:

    I like this painting. It’s hard to tell if it’s dull or not but the craftmanship is totally there.

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