I stick with the traditional methods of applying paints with cotton balls
and Q-tips as well as a variety of fine brushes. As when working on canvas,
I always begin working beyond (above) the horizon and come forward, bringing
my colors to the immediate foreground. Finally, I go back and make little changes
here and there if necessary. This is the nice thing about oils. They take considerable
time to dry and this gives the artist ample opportunity to go back and add little
highlights or rework a questionable area. It just comes naturally when you work
If I am working on a complex piece that requires additional layering over some
delicate sections of the print, I will often set the print aside for a week
or more to allow the oils to dry before adding the finishing touches. I place
my palette in a Zip Loc bag and put it in a refrigerator until I need it for
the final applications. Most of the oils will last for a week or more when refrigerated;
thus enabling you to pick up where you left off without having to mix a totally
new set of pigments.
Not all images are suited for oils. My candid portraits of the Appalachian Mountain
people, for instance, stand strong as silver images. Most of my early landscapes
that capitalize on strong lines and shapes require no additional enhancement.
Cyrus from the Appalachian portfolio.
It was only after I made my retirement move to Wyoming that I dove seriously
into the added dimension of transparent oils. The western landscape, with its
varied textures and hues, is naturally suited for this mixed-media technique.
My finished art is both a photograph and a painting. I can work in subtle, layered
tones that are quite different from the options available in color dye photography,
which has the reputation of having a relatively short life span. The image is
mine from conception, to the camera and darkroom, and finally to the brush.
outback, Monument Draw.
I will continue to explore those landscapes most people pass by unseeing and
to produce the images that offer my perception of the world I experience. To
me, silver and oil has always been a labor of love.