Starting February 2014 this blog will be out of action.

But DO NOT DESPAIR. We've just moved, and you can still find the same riveting and informative posts that you have come to expect on our new blog:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

St. George Final

As some of you may recall, I planned to tackle one of these two final St. George pieces in oil.  This was the piece I chose. 

Oil Underpainting

Things started off really well. But after finishing the underpainting, I ran into some minor health issues... 

Side effects may include...

And I turned into a monster and ate my neighbors.
Apparently my problem is that I cannot seem to manage to paint what I want without solvents and solvents just don't agree with me. 
So, while I sit here filing down my fangs and waiting for the manufacturers to solve this problem,  I tackled this piece digitally, in the same manner as the previous St. George painting.  

Digital Underpainting

St. George #10
12 x 16
Pencil and Digital

Note: This post is a re-post from Muddy Colors.  To check out the original post and comments visit Muddycolors.blogspot.com


  1. Great stuff, Justin.
    I have similar problems with most solvents, but few or little with Gamsol.
    Also, I've tried several different brands of alkyd mediums, most of which made my hands and legs shake, and nausea. The only one I've found (in case you're looking for a medium) that doesn't make me sick is from Tri-Art. They normally produce just acrylic paints and mediums, but also make a line of oil mediums as well.
    (Galkyds and Liquins are popular brands, all made me sooo ill)
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Wonderful. I really, really love seeing the different treatments for each piece- and each is as stunning as the last!

  3. Love your work as always. Your work has a lot of life in its lines.
    Have you tried walnut oil and walnut alkyd medium? They're certified non-toxic.
    Dawn dish soap works for cleaning up as it disperses the oil.
    And if it's a skin contact thing there's latex or neoprene gloves.

  4. Hi Ben,
    How does the Tri-Art medium compare to M. Grahams Walnut Alkyd medium?

    I am actually a huge fan of M. GRaham's Walnut materials. I've spoken with him about them on a number of occasions. I have never had any health problems when using Walnut Alkyd Medium and I thoroughly recommend them.
    My only problem is that I find that the paint layer is too thick when working with them. I really like working in as thin a layer as possible, especially on these really detailed pieces, and that is something that I am finding is really difficult to do without using solvents.

  5. Amazing art here! I've been looking at it for days!

  6. I personally think the drawing is amazing, I hope my simple sketches can look like that someday. The finished product is wonderful too, love the digital effect. Makes things look so much brighter and richer. Sorry about getting sick. Haven't used oil before, but if I ever do I will sure to be careful.

    Thanks for your advice with school and using digital effects in art, they've been very helpful. Can't wait to start school next week and begin learning!

  7. mmoten said...
    "I personally think the drawing is amazing, I hope my simple..."


    The person above just wrote exactly what I said. I don't know why??? Sorry, and I am going to try to take care of this. Please don't pay attention mmoten, I think he's some sort of hacker. Sorry :(

  8. Dear Sarah,

    Thank you for the comment. Your imposter was in fact a soulless bot and has been cast back into the abyss from whence it came.

  9. Hi Justin,

    To be honest, I've tried M. Graham's walnut alkyd twice, and I didn't like it either time. I like the no smell, but it never did speed the drying of even a thin paint film. Others I know that use the walnut alkyd medium don't complain of this, which is why I tried it again a few years later.
    The Tri-Art is more viscous, can add a lot of gloss, and has a mild smell. I find it less sticky than Galkyd, but not as oily feeling as the M.Graham. Like I said, whatever solvent they're using, it doesn't cause me any problems.

    BTW, I did have a solvent-free studio practice for three years. I only used dishwashing detergent for cleaning my brushes, and occasionally, minimal linseed oil for thinning, but normally straight from the tube. It's hard to convince some people that artist's oils are made from a vegetable oil, and have no solvents in them (there are some exceptions). Probably the safest paint, if you had to eat it.

  10. I have a question. It goes for all of your sketches, what technique do you use for your shadows? I am mesmerized by your shadows.

    thanks, Aedan

  11. Hi Aedan,

    For the shadows I don't really have too much of a standard technique per se. On this one the shadows were mainly achieved using the edge of the pencil (not the tip), but on other drawings I may use any number of approaches. Whatever works for the piece.
    But while the technique may vary, the principle is generally the same: Keep the focal areas lit and sharp, and the shadows vague and mysterious.

  12. Fantastic light here!
    On the solvent issue— a long time ago I switched to water soluble oils. With a smaller studio with sparse ventilation it really helped. Not to mention solvent and skin was removed from the equation. The Holbein water solubles are as good as their artist grade oils and the blend magnificently. I recommend trying them out!

    Here's a painting I completed using them: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_3YFVoEFMN-I/THMXHpf5e9I/AAAAAAAAAcE/Pz_C2L3Frqk/s1600/Don+Pusquellic+2009_small.jpg

  13. Hi, I'm a french illustrator, so forgive my bad english, I discovered your works a few years ago with Portland Studio, what I've to say is not very original but I want, your works are one of the most wonderful things I've ever seen...Sometime I've feeling when I see it, it's like I'll almost cry in front of, so, for all that, thanks you!

  14. .......Wow. This is brilliant! And I love the underpainting almost as much as the finished painting. Both are amazing, and I can't believe it was done digitally!