Tysoe’s Art Blog

Materials Overview

Studio Part 5

by on Oct.06, 2011, under General, Materials Overview

So Here’s the Studio with all the walls painted. Just need to get the floor done and then some trim here and there. It actually looks a lot bigger in person, but the camera doesn’t have a lense good enough to give you a decent impression.

I think it’s looking pretty good, Only concern with adding a floor is that the door opens flush with the concrete floor with no lower door frame to help keep the weather out.

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Studio Part 4

by on Sep.20, 2011, under General, Materials Overview

I bought an outdoor lamp to light the way to the studio, energy star with dusk/dawn and motion sensor, so you can pretty much leave it, though it currently does use one of the three switches in the studio which allows you to make use of the manual override feature.

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Studio Part 3

by on Sep.17, 2011, under General, Materials Overview

First thing I did was add wiring throughout the two garage walls, install light switches, some new beams to mount 4 foot flourescent light fixtures from.

After installing light fixtures I bought light weight tile backer wall board instead of drywall. This stuff is moisture resistant and thinner, lighter and comes in smaller sheets, easier for a individual person to work with on their own and cut with a utility knife.

Here’s the entrance to the studio from the back garden which is kind of nice :)

Here’s looking at the wall by the entrance before I got the mud out and started finishing the walls.  Check out my wife in the background :)

And here’s the rest of the studio, a bit of a mess, you can see one of my 4 foot tubes and the two Dazor Task lamps that produce excellent 98% accurate full spectrum lighting at 5300 kelvin temp. Was pretty pleased to find a second one at the local antique store for $50. You can still buy them with the same vintage design for $300 brand new. I like them so much better than the modern lights they sell in Art Supply shops. Discovered these from one of my old painting hero’s Frank Frazetta who used them for a good 50 years in his various studios as do many other illustrators today.

REALLY nice to have working electricity outlets in there now too, and able to see with half decent lighting too :)


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Studio Part 2

by on Sep.17, 2011, under General, Materials Overview

First thing to be done was to get a better source of electricity through to the back studio portion of the garage. Previously there was a single conduit going through the middle of the roof from front to back with a single light switch and lamp fixture. Not at all adequate.

Here you can see the rerouted electricity cable in the conduit piping that enters the studio through the wooden framing on the left side.

Here you can see the old lighting, One thing that changed in this picture from the last time is that the drywall at the back of the room has been painted which makes the whole place a little brighter.

Notice the size of the cupboards, perfect for large A1 size portfolio cases and large canvases etc.


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Studio Part 1

by on Sep.17, 2011, under General, Materials Overview

My wife and I bought a house earlier this year and moved in on the 5th or March. One of the criteria we put on our list was an extra room or space to use as a studio.

In the end we found an adorable little 2 bedroom house with a 2 Car Tandem Garage (where you park one car in front of another.

I haven’t been painting as much as I’d like the last few months but recently started doing up the back of the garage and converting it into a studio space.

This is pretty much how it looked when I first moved here, very dark and dingy with a wooden partition that I’ll probably keep but not much else.

Here’s looking inside on a very bright sunny day. The room had very inadequate lighting so overexposed the photo a little too.

Here you can see the 2×4 wooden framing, not too bad for a garage, but a lot of work needs to be done to make this a pleasant working environment.




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Oil of Spike Lavender

by on Jul.14, 2008, under Materials Overview

Oil of spike (Lavendar Oil) is a mild solvent used as an alternative to turpentine for thinning oil paint in days gone by. I’ve been trying to avoid toxic solvents with my oil paints. Lavender oil is used in aromatherapy and is supposed to be calming and good for beating insomnia.

It’s hard to find and quite expensive, I tried all the local art stores including some well known ones online and ended up purchasing from Jerry’s Artarama. Here’s what I bought.

Lefranc & Bourgeois Oil of Spike Lavender 75ml Bottle.     $13.49

On first opening it does have a fairly strong odour up close. Not as unpleasant as the usual solvents. Otherwise it behaves pretty much as you would expect. The odour is not so bad, and much more subtle when used in small quantities.

I mostly use the Walnut oil medium formulated for M. Grahams paints. But for underlayers I prefer thinner faster drying which is where the Lavender oil comes in handy.

Being expensive, I think the regular walnut oil in smaller quantities is best for temporary cleaning of brushes.

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M.Graham Oil Paints

by on Jul.13, 2008, under General, Materials Overview

After a lot of research I chose M.Graham oil paints. For a number or reasons both regarding the paints and the company that makes them.

M.Graham paints are unusual in that they use walnut oil as a binder instead of the usual Linseed oil most commonly found in other brands. One of the much advertised benefits of using walnut oil is that you can work solvent free. Using the Walnut medium as both a medium to mix with your paints, or to clean your brushes.

When I first started painting again, I recalled why I dropped Oils in favour of Acrylics, sacrificing many of oil paints benefits. Blendability, slow drying so you can take your time getting your paint exactly how and where you want it. Of course slow drying is also a con in that you often have to wait between applying paint layers. The other thing is having to use stinky solvents. Not only do they absorb into the skin and interfere with organs in your body, but the fumes are toxic, even in the odourless solvents formulated specially for artists.

M.Graham oil paints is a small company based in Oregon who are very environmentaly concious, and try to make Oil paints that are based on an ancient formula, but also allow you to work solvent free providing a walnut medium and solvent free alkyd walnut medium for faster drying.

I have had great results with both. The paints have very strong pigmentation, a nice buttery consistency that still retains texture and walnut oil drys clearer with less yellowing than linseed oil. One negative is that it drys slower, hence the Alkyd medium.

As well as producing Oil Paints. M. Graham take efficiency and the environment seriously in the manufacture of their paints.

These folks are mighty green. Not only do they have the solvent-free system of oil painting but 100% of the electric power used at their shop is purchased through the renewable power option. They have purchased more efficient filling equipment and reduced energy consumption by 71%. Almost all of the machinery is reconditioned/recycled–one of the fillers was built in 1951. The acrylic resin is produced in a factory about 2 miles from the shop, the bee farm that makes the honey for watercolor and gouache is about 30 miles away–so even the bees are local. The walnut oil comes from neighboring California to cut down on transportation pollution. The factory waste water used for cleaning equipment is recycled and reused for 2 weeks before it is collected for EPA certified disposal. The paperboard box packaging is all made with post-consumer recycled paper waste as is the paper used for trifolds. The cadmium pigments are by-products of zinc manufacturing which are converted from a toxic heavy metal into a “biologically unavailable” pigment that can be disposed of in garbage as solid waste. Graham products are also available in Canada through selected outlets, and www.artpurveyors.com will export from the USA to anywhere in the world.

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