Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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11/09/2004: "DRY DAMMIT, DRY!"

I have 10 canvases I painted this weekend with nothing but thick white under paintings. I painted a few similar pieces over 2 weeks ago that still aren’t dry enough to start the next layer and my show is in 3 weeks! One problem is that I used “Amsterdam” oil paints which are *very* thick and stiff (oh naughty!), making them excellent for pallet knife work but not good for fast drying. I tried to mix in a little Liquin but that changed the stiffness of the paints, which ruined the effect I was going for.

I told Rick I may end up hanging a show of paintings done completely in white. He said I shouldn’t worry, at the opening I can just explain to people how they’ll look when they’re finished. He reminded me of the time I had to go before gallery directors without my slides (I know some of you have heard this one before but…)

Once upon a time, faculty had selected their top students to compete for a group show at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art. One very lucky girl who was selected to compete didn’t have any slides. The girl’s best friend was in Seattle and had slides from their collaborative show on voyeurism called “Penetrated Structures”. He promised to mail the slides to her in time weeks went by and they never arrived!

On the big day, the other students presented their best work, clickity clicking through their slides reading written proposals for what they’d do if they were allowed into the show.

The girl was dying inside, she didn’t have anything to show them except for two small paintings done on loose canvases. When it was her turn, she explained that she didn’t have slides but could describe her paintings if they liked? The girl had them imagine what her paintings looked like, while she described them in great detail. The faculty looked humiliated but the gallery reps selected her anyway! She had her first show in a real gallery some months later and lived happily ever after.

I’m not sure my current situation will yield as happy an ending, but stay tuned. Also, if anyone who wants an invitation to the show, just email me your address!

Replies: 2 Comments

on Tuesday, November 9th,">Jackie said

E: bummer about the lack of dryness in your canvasses. I guess there's no way to speed up oil paint drying - other than what you've tried? How about a warm dry environment? I use oil-based stains to finish my wood pieces, and I know when it's wintry (cold & damp), the stain takes twice as long or longer to dry. I used to set them near the furnace in Kodiak, since my shop was in the basement. Here, I can bring them into the den (but the oil-base stain emits fumes), or turn on my little free-standing radiator (it's electric, filled with oil that heats up and has adjustable temp. settings).
Rots o' ruck!

on Tuesday, November 9th, Elise said

Thanks Jackie, good advice. I actually have a regular air fan that I can get going to help circulate the air, and I do have a heat fan I can use while I'm at home. Again, I have the furnace turned way down because of the high cost of home oil heating.

If I turn up the heat to help my canvases dry more quickly, could I write off part of my heating bill as a business expense?
hee hee...