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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Gandalf Oil

A little while back I did a quick sketch of Gandalf in anticipation of the opening of The Hobbit. At the request of a collector I did a finished oil version of it and wanted to share it.

 Oil on panel 
11" x 14"

A little side note for anyone who has followed along with my misadventures in oil these past few years: You have probably heard me complain many times before that I couldn't seem to work in oil without using solvents, but that if did use solvents, that I would always end up having this allergic reaction where I would grow fangs, claws, and an unruly beehive haircut. I would then of course go roaming about the neighborhood howling at the moon, ravening for meat-flavored things.  

This oil was done without the use of any solvents whatsoever. It was done using only walnut alkyd oil, and using only oil pigments that tend to dry faster. (siennas, umbers, pthalos, etc.) So far I haven't grown a single beehive haircut, which is pretty exciting.  

Early sketch on toned paper


  1. That looks fantastic! I loved the original sketch when you posted it, and I'm happy to see that it got taken to the next level. Amazing work.

  2. .... Most beautiful!!

  3. Great stuff Justin! I'm a little curious as to how you transferred this to your panel? Did you use Donato's method with this? I guess it would be nice to have all those underlying values in the sketch to start off with. Anyway, glad you're winning the battle on solvents. I really don't think beehive do's are coming back anytime soon...

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  5. I see a wonderful and magic Illustration here. And i think without using solvents you got more that special oil charakter feeling :)) Congrats!

  6. Beautiful!


  7. Stunning, love how well the warm light gives depth to the textures in his clothing... Just stunning

  8. I am amazed this work with oil was done without solvents, I always need them when I do detailed painting. The finished result is impressive.

  9. I started using Meroger medium from an Atelier workshop I took a couple years ago. It has lead in it but I don't have a reaction to it like I did with solvents. We made it from litharge lead, linseed oil, and wax but it seems like there are a lot of manufacturers that make it.