19 August 2010

Painting With A Maulstick

I'm painting again.  I know!  When I'm painting, it draws me into a love affair inserting itself as meaning in life.  I'd been playing a couple months before this with ink on paper, kicking ideas around, knowing inevitably I need to switch to paint.

When I got the paints out, I realized I might need to "warm up" with a study.  I chose a doozy.  I've really been appreciating the architectural details of architect Louis Sullivan.  He drew from classical decoration, influenced by the likes of Mucha and the Art Nouveau movement, and ramped everything up into a tasty, king unicorn temple wall, swirling 3d ecstasy.  I thought, "I want that."  That's what studies are for.  By time I finish this piece, I'll be well warmed up for the much more challenging paintings I'm intending on doing.  The plan being, to never stop painting from here on out.  (Death do us part, until some young, red-haired digital idea entices me.)

For Christmas, I gifted myself with some new audio-technica headphones and a tutorial dvd set by master painter Donato.  I met Donato at Comic Con San Diego back in 2008.  He's very open with his techniques and like me, works sitting down at a drafting type table.  He also uses a maulstick.  Historically (like Rembrandt historically), a maulstick was a stick maybe 18" long with a padded end.  Probably cotton or cloth bunched in a ball covered in soft leather and tied off on the end of the stick.  The padded end would rest against a dry part of your painting held in your left hand while your right hand could rest on the stick and paint over wetter areas without smudging.  Donato had one that was hinged at the top of his drafting table that appeared to work quite well.

Doing some home renovation, I had some oak laying around, got out the router and made myself a first class maulstick with adjustable height.  It eases the process so much, I wouldn't paint without it now.  I've completed in 2 weeks what it used to take two months for me to do.  Although, I'm finding much more available time to paint in the new house with new studio.  After work, late in the evening and early in the morning.  I'm about 15hrs into this 30hr piece.

Um.  OK.  Perhaps the alterior motive here was to publicly prove I'm painting and give some snaps of my studio.  Done.


julie said...

tom! i love the new painting. and am very jealous of your studio. to paint is the bestest most funnest thing in the whole world. welcome back!

Tom Baumgartner said...

Thanks Julie! Nice to know fellow painters are out there!