Art, oil painting, Painting, Still Life

Blue Bowl and Bottles


8″ x 8″ oil on panel

We’re having a very wet November so I’ve been painting comfortably in the studio.

I’m struggling again with the support I paint on. I tried a new ground. It’s the first time I’ve actually prepared a lot of panels but the ground really sucks up the paint leaving dull spots and it even seems like some of the ground mixes with the first layer of paint. I’ve been trying to add other stuff on top of it to seal it with mixed success.

I’ve tried Gamblin’s oil ground, which I find unpleasant to work with and it dries out in the can. I find that I’m moving away from Gamblin products in general. I used to use Galkyd lite but I’ve never finished a bottle before it dried out in the container. I mostly use Utrecht paint now and mix my own medium.

I’ve also tried putting a layer of lead white over this ground I’ve been using and that makes it much nicer to paint on but I left brush strokes in the lead paint layer and they seem to making it almost impossible to get a good photo of the finished piece because of glare from the brush strokes.

I may end up going back to straight acrylic gesso.

The painting above was done on the ground I don’t like and you can see that the background is weird with parts of it sunk in. I even oiled it in with medium before taking the photo and it’s still sunken.


3 thoughts on “Blue Bowl and Bottles”

  1. Bill,
    I do like the contrasts. Even if you feel the ground is weakening the background, the result makes a nice random-effect texture.


  2. Nothing worse than materials that fight us. I too hate sunken colors, and if the ground is lifting and chalking up your colors, that’s the worst! Despite the challenges, this is a really nice painting–maybe some retouch varnish will even out the dull spots. It does have an interesting effect on the background, people will certainly wonder how you got that! Thanks for describing your results with the Gamblin oil ground, I had thought about trying that. Maybe I’ll stick with the Blick Artists Gesso (acrylic) because that’s been good and reliable.


  3. Hi Edgar. Thanks for your remark. It’s always nice to hear how something appears to another artist.

    Kathryn, I think the painting surface may look interesting in the photo but in person, the uneven surface is annoying. I’m sure I can fix it with more oiling out or, as you say, varnish. To be fair, if you sand the Gamblin Oil Ground, it’s not that bad to paint on but it’s nasty to work with, kind of like white tar. In the video I post earlier by Rose Frantzen, she describes her experience using this ground. I like painting on an oil ground but I haven’t yet found one that is easy enough to apply for me to want to continue with it.


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