Friday, 7 August 2009

Painting Reality - William Calladine

The Drawing Reality Course merged seamlessly into the next one on Sunday night with a talk by Bill on the methods and material of the Old Masters. On brushes and pigments, mediums and binders, glazing, resins, oils and siccatives and varnishes. On gesso grosso, gesso sotile, verdaccio and grisaille, imprimatura and allaprima. Bill brought to the course all the passion and depth of knowledge that he has for this subject. One student confessed to have half filled his notebook by the middle of monday morning!
All the students I spoke to were impressed by the level of tuition they were receiving . One, who had travelled from Perth in Scotland, pointed out that he had ben researching for some time to find a course at this level and the only other one had been in Italy. I was impressed by how much had been achieved by the middle of the week. This student had never painted with oils before...
Bill also gave a demonstration of the traditional preparation of paints, grinding the pigment, and showing that the addition of different binders is what produces the unique nature of the differing painting mediums. In this instance, a porphory slab and muller have been used to grind the pigment from lapis lazulis and then mixed with linseed oil for oil paint, egg yolk for egg tempura or gum arabic for watercolour.
Despite the intensity of the learning curve there was a strong air of camaradarie and enthusiasm in the studio, and a fair degree of good natured banter!

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