You're Not Like All The Others

I'm often asked why my work doesn't look like other typical oil paintings. Most people seem to believe high-gloss, thick, impasto works are the prototypical oil painting. Because I use mineral spirits and a medium that permits me to work thin layers of glazes and hatch marks to create complex colors and a particular depth, my paintings do not have the same texture nor gloss as most other oil paintings do. My methods for creating paintings through layers of color come from two basic foundational elements, of which I will focus mainly on the first for this blog.

The first element is the chemistry or science behind a particular pigment. Some colors are more transparent and thus, are more condusive for glazing than other pigments. So, for example, if I choose a red hue for a painting, I must not only decide what kind of red I'm looking for (a cool red or a warm red, for instance), but then consider it's transparency and if that level of transparency is appropriate for what I want to do with it (such as cover a surface completely, or glaze the surface to show the layers beneath it). I then determine if I want to mix in a medium into to the pigment, to either thin or thicken the layer of color depending on where I am in the painting. Generally, I don't use as much medium as most other artists, which is why my work isn't as shiny as other oil paintings. Upon finishing my work, I coat the painting with a retouch varnish which adds a gloss coating to the piece. Over time, however, some of the pigments tend to absorb the varnish and so the painting can lose its sheen, in which case I can reapply the varnish.

The other element I employ is color theory which I have derived from what I have learned through formal training, combined with my own experience. This, to me, is the unique intangible that makes my work look like a Jared Steinberg painting.