I pretend to be an artist in real life, and a chum in the Frontiers section suggested we chat about our pursuits, trials and tribulations and whatnot.
I’m kind of a Renaissance man, which today I think is called a polymorph… polymath, that’s it! I do electronic music when I’m feeling brave, though a long stint as an itinerant engineer / producer left me with severely rusty fingers, and right now I’m terrible. I hope to get back to that stuff soon. I also write fiction - an example is bouncing around right now in the Origins section and might have to be moved soon. Oh lordy, so many ambitions from science, philosophy, history, the dreaded theology and politics… I have so many interests I’m spread a bit thin.
But among them is art. I work in pencil, graphite and colored, watercolor, acrylic and oils. My main focus for a couple of decades was aviation art, but I began to delve into all sorts of subjects. About twelve years ago, I got the bug to get back into it and bought more than $500 worth of water soluble oils as I wanted to get something I started with. And starting with oils is kind of a deep pool, but I loved working with them. Acrylics were cheaper and nearly as good, better in a few ways, so I went with them for many years. I discovered watercolors and I had an epiphany over them, and did some of my best work with them. But I played around with the water oils a bit, and had some fun rediscovering the good and not so good sides of that lovely medium.
Music distracted me for quite some time, and a few people discovered the quality of my productions and I made a portion of my income recording and producing some local talents, worked very briefly in a real studio until I got tired of being poor and got a real… government job, meh, so art took a back seat and the art stuff languished for a decade.
So writing my No Man’s Sky fiction, I used images from the game as illustrations, but I began running out of suitable subjects. And I got the bright idea to do some art for it, as I had hundreds of Ameribucks worth of supplies just sitting around doing nothing. And…
The water soluble oils smelled funny, the cheaper ones, Weber wOils which I noticed no one sells anymore. And they didn’t like diluting with water. And they didn’t want to clean up with soap and water very easily. And THEY STAINED MY BRUSHES! GRAH! And I mean stained.
I forget what the large brush is called, but it used to be a light golden brown. The smaller ones are all white synthetics, or used to be…
So now I have the dilemma of deciding to bolster my tidy art bucket with some affordable but very good LUKAS Berlin water oils, which would cost me somewhere north of $120, or splurge on some Golden Open acrylics which are inherently slow drying with some oily tendencies but all the advantages of acrylics. Right now I’m a bit poor, so I’m sitting pat for now. I do have some superb watercolors to work with, and a bunch of surprisingly good Master’s Touch acrylics which I’m using on another painting for the fic, so I have options.
Here’s a (poor) example of what I used to do in aviation art.
And a sketch I did of the character MacBeth from Disney’s Gargoyles I never did anything with.
My dreaded water oil collection. The nasty Weber wOils are the top row. The rest are a mix of Cobra Talens which are great, Grumbacher MAX which used to be great but are succumbing to old age like the Webers, a couple of Holbein which are fantastic but a bit pricey, and a couple of Windsor & Newton which are wonderful. Not too expensive and quite lovely paints. The LUKAS Berlins I recently bought are very nice too, and almost half other brands.
And my “studio” space with my Master’s Touch acrylics.
Acrylicwise, I love the Master’s stuff, available at Hobby Lobby and is quite cheap while offering close to pro quality. Grumbacher is good, but I covet Liquitex Heavy Body, Utrecht for quality at a good price, LUKAS heavy body, cheap but high quality, the dreaded Windsor & Newtons, and the delicious Golden brand, particularly the Open slow drying acrylics.
In watercolor , I stumbled into Qor which has a lovely line, and there are some great watercolor brands out, but Windsor & Newton again seem to be the high bar and safe bet if you want the best.
Hopefully I’ll have some stuff to share soooon…
So what’s your art story?