Sunday, November 27, 2011


I have neglected portraiture a bit over the past few years. Figuring out landscape painting, among other things, has consumed the bulk of my attention. So recently, I have set aside some studio time, to bring in new sitters.

Since I'm still a bit rusty, I'm going to avoid painting anyone for awhile. Charcoal is more forgiving. At some point I will consider hiring some strangers to sit, but for the time being, the "victims" will be friends and family.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Volkonskoite is rare green earth mineral, found mainly in the mountains of Russia. Named after a Russian prince who was a government minister, its use was confined historically to religious icon paintings. Volkonskoite is not well known outside of Russia, the most famous exception being Picasso. He was known to have imported large quantities from the Soviet Union for use in his paintings.

The green color derives from chromium-oxide, also used in a modern equivalent by the same name. The natural variety green is more subtle, and not as "loud" when used in mixtures. It also is far more transparent.

Up until this point, I haven't made much use of a standalone green in my pictures. I am always open to the idea if I could find one that was suitably flexible.

To that end, I've purchased a small jar of the relatively expensive Volkonskoite, to try out.

To the left is the raw color mixed with oil, to the right it has been tinted with white. It is a blueish green with cool undertones. I did not find Volkonskoite as weak as some of the green earths I have tried in the past.