Friday, March 17, 2006


I realized last night that the different surface textures I try to achieve in my paintings can be accurately compared to pancakes. Malcolm, Laura Marie, Amber and I where at the Black Mountain Denny's during the wee hours of the morning. I ordered a typical Denny's scrambler plate and when it arrived I looked at the different surface qualities.

Here are the four surface paint qualities:

Syrup is the most fluid of the paints consistencies that I use. Often I mix a large quantity of color in a bowl or cup and add different emulsions and vehicles until it achieves the “syrupiness”. Oils are usually much more capable than acrylics in this arena. I am working out of my home rather than a studio I make due with the less toxic of the two. Retarders are more helpful to me when using the syrup. With them the otherwise fast drying, pigment lacking, pseudo-translucent, lustrous paint has more integrity. Matte varnishes are important too. I like to make them painting and then pick which parts are shiny. Picky picky.

The next quality is butter. A exceptionally smooth, thick buttery consistency is only achievable with heavy bodied paints unless I use a filler like marble dust, which changes the color. And gives me cancer. I think that this is what most people envision when they think of tube paint. Knife-spreadable and silky. Usually it needs a little bit of help holding it's peaks though so coal and putty is added. That was when the paint is dry I can still understand the feelings from the brush.

You know that look where the pancake is loaded in syrup and butter? It sits on the plate soaked with sugary maple goodness. That is the next stage. I think I'll call it “drunk pancake”. This one is heavy on fillers which means the color qualities are harder to acquire. Like the pancake you feel like you have it and then the little bastard falls apart on the fork, or in my case, brush. Right now a lot of different things are being used. Dust, saw dust, marble dust, coal dust, dirt, red clay, old dry paint, static grass, wood filler and mica. I guess I am not surprised when it has trouble holding together. That really pushes the paint to exhaustion.

Lastly the pancake itself. Rarely to I work with just the pancake. I feel like that is a misallocation of useful elements. While it is important to have a great variety of surface in my paintings it is also hard to justify such bulk as anything but underpainting. It rarely makes it into the final product in any other way. Isn't that apt though. Do we not put the syrup and butter on top of the pancake? And do we not relish the more unstable yet decadent drunken pancake more?

I can't believe I just wrote that. Jeeze.

2 Comments:

Blogger fairclavicle said...

Since the 2006 ball dropped, I have made it possible each day to have a tall stack of something sweet, first it was the french toast, then pancakes, now waffles. But if I went into a tangent like yours, I would not be welcomed back to any painting class. This is because I really love McDonald's pancakes. shun me.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Perhaps a Denny's adventure is in order. That place is full of pancakes, inebriation… and varmints.

8:37 AM  

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