Several weeks ago, I wrote a post about carving the side panels of this maple bowl. Since then, I’ve completed the painting — a slow process. Not just because artist’s oils dry slowly, but more so because I did a lot of thinking about and experimenting with the color scheme. Normally, in carving, my considerations involve line, light, and shadow. Color throws a whole other factor into the mix, and it can be intimidating. I was really pleased with the form of the bowl; especially the deeply sculpted curves. I didn’t want to take a chance and ruin it, but the relatively plain maple seemed to call out for a little more, a little risk. I won’t be going wild with a paintbrush on all my stuff, but I’m glad I did on this one.
To experiment with different color combinations, I drew a basic sketch of a portion of the bowl, then made several xerox copies. I used colored pencils at first, then painted sample sections directly onto the paper. I used lots of paper, but finally decided on what you see above. Once that was settled it was time to paint the bowl itself.
I used high quality artist’s oil paints and thinned them with a little linseed oil to a consistency that wasn’t too thick or too thin. Jogge Sundquist uses artist’s oils on most of his work, and is an expert in their use. Over the summer I talked with him about the amount of oil to add, and he explained that there is no rule — “Until it is just right.” It even varies among colors and pigment types. You can also add thinner (turps or even citrus thinner) instead of oil to create more of a stain. Anyway, it is fun stuff to mess around with. I don’t know if it is just right, but I like it.
Compared to the paints most of us are used to, artist’s oils take a long time to dry — it can be over a week to be dry to the touch! Since I painted the colors in sequence after each dried, I sped up the drying process with a heat lamp — which our cat, Mavis, appreciated as well. After the painting was completely finished, I treated the interior of the bowl with a few coats of flax seed oil, then another over the entire bowl, paint and all.
The dimensions are 17 1/2″ long, 12″ wide, and 6 1/2″ high.