Painting Creation Process
DETERMINING SIZE OF THE CANVAS
René’s oil paintings can range anywhere between 5x5in to 100x100in and beyond.
Once the canvas size of René’s next piece is determined, she places an order to Art Services, a Chicago company providing structures to artists for over 10 years and environmentally conscious woodshop, using the most sustainable materials on the market.
• Sustainable kiln dried poplar hardwood
• 12 degree beveled front
• Mitered corners, masonite corner braces
• Sanded cross bars (for sizes over 36″) and edges
• 1-3/4″ standard depth or custom depth
• Folding feature and custom shapes available
• #12 cotton duck standard
• Linen and muslin available
• Staples placed 2″ apart, pulled tightly
• Flat Double folded corners
• Different weights and textures available
RETRIEVING AND PREPPING THE CANVAS
Once René has picked up the canvas from Art Services, depending on the size and quantity—this can require rental truck, the canvases are brought to her studio in Lake Bluff to be based with two layers of GAMBLIN OIL PAINTING GROUND.
Adding the oil ground creates an additional protective layer between the paint and the canvas helping to prevent absorption into the canvas, which can dull the color saturation; additionally the linseed oil in oil paint is acidic and can wear away at the cotton canvas over several years of time, thus ensuring every painting by René is collector/museum quality work.
Oil grounding takes at minimum one week, depending on humidity levels. It is very important that each layer is completely dry and sanded before beginning the painting process to avoid any delamination.
Gamblin Oil Painting Ground is the top choice for a new generation of painters looking for a convenient, non-toxic alternative to traditional lead oil grounds. Like all Gamblin products, it has been formulated to exhibit true historic working properties, yet is safer and more permanent.
The binder in Gamblin Oil Painting Ground makes it more flexible and faster-drying than lead/linseed oil grounds, which must dry for six months. Gamblin Oil Ground is ready for painting within a week. And because the percentage of pigments is so much higher than in acrylic gessos, painters only need to apply two coats of Gamblin Oil Ground instead of the recommended four coats of an acrylic gesso.
Cotton or linen canvas primed with Gamblin Oil Painting Ground will be stiffer than canvas primed with an acrylic gesso, yet more flexible than a canvas prepared with a traditional oil primer.
When René begins her painting process, she starts with a base color applied with palette knives, one in each hand.
After the base color has dried, René adds another layer of color, and from here she begins to manifest a figure. This process includes a lot of scraping and reapplication of paint until the figure is fully formed. René’s paintings have anywhere between 3-5 layers of paint.
Since René uses oil, there is a lot of time, 1-2 days before the surface layer begins to dry and is still workable. However once the paint starts to congeal, the layer must dry completely before another layer is added. Also, when René applies each layer, it is across the entire surface of the canvas, meaning each layer can change the overall feel of the piece.
When René feels that the painting is complete, she must wait again for the piece to be completely dry to the touch and the thicker portions to pass the “nail test”(using one’s nail, you can apply pressure to an especially thick portion of the painting; however, the paint needs to provide resistance not allowing any indentation to occur).
There are many variables to paint drying: humidity, thickness of the paint, color—different colors have different oil to pigment ratios, and colors with higher oil content take longer to dry. Color’s variability is not simple to determine since almost all of René’s colors are created from mixing different tubes of paint. René uses Utrecht and Gamblin artist oil paints, determined most ideal for her thick surface and palette knife application style of painting.
Once the painting is dry, it goes through a process called “oiling out”. There is a mixture of galkyd (a common painting medium) and gamsol (paint thinner) applied to the surface of the canvas that pulls the oils in the paint to the surface. This gives the finished piece a more uniform surface and color-saturated appearance.
“Oiling out” is done in sections and applied for 2-3 minutes at a time then wiped away. This is left to dry anywhere between 1-3 days until the surface is no longer tacky. Each painting may have to go through 3-5 “oiling out” sessioins, depending on the absorption of the paint, until the surface is entirely uniform. If necessary, a thin layer of varnish is applied to further treat the surface appearance and provide another protective layer.
THE PAINTING IS COMPLETE
When a painting is finished, it shipped off to one of René’s galleries across the nation where they are sold to reputable collectors of fine art.
René often takes commissions and these pieces are both shipped and installed by professional art handlers.
Since René covers the entire canvas with paint (including the sides creating an overall sculptural feel), her work is ready to be installed as is.
However, some collectors still prefer to have a piece framed. René highly recommends a floater frame, leaving negative space between the work and the frame allowing for a very contemporary look. If requested, René will bring the finished piece back to Art Services, where they create custom frames for the artwork.