My Blog About Art

Aquapasto February 04, 2018 19:59

A couple weeks ago I bought a medium made by Winsor Newton and others called "Aquapasto." This medium is meant to give a small amount of texture to watercolor brush strokes. It's based on a 19th-century formula and consists of gum arabic and fumed silica, so it does not take the user out of the watercolor category. 

Holy fish scales! January 18, 2018 08:16 2 Comments

There are also the few pigments that have such fine mica particles that they are iridescent in the way that nature is. This is exactly what I am looking for to add to surface layers of abstract paintings. I experimented with mixing these pigments with just casein binder and also added them to some random, low opacity colors (they are supposed to work best with transparent pigments). They worked wonderfully.

Art and Shitholes January 15, 2018 05:57

IMO, we need political art and art that is social commentary as much as we need art about spiritual stillness. Maybe more. Because the difference between art that is political and agitprop is that art has the capacity--the opportunity--to be subtle, to make us question, whereas agitprop is usually part of an echo chamber. 

Chameleon Colors and the Pigment Jackpot January 12, 2018 07:20

I recently came across sites that sell pigments for use in cosmetics, including nail polish (which is just acrylic paint), and yesterday I sent for some samples of what they call "chameleon colors." Other pigment vendors call them interference pearlescents. I've read that such pigments don't work in matte binders like casein, but I will experiment and find out for myself. 

The Goblin Color: Cobalt January 08, 2018 20:06

Today I ordered a bunch of cobalt pigment dispersions from Guerra: Cobalt Bermuda BlueGreen YellowTitanate Blue Green (which I think has great possibilities for moonlit mist), Green Blue (reminds me of spruce trees), Forest Green  (great landscape green), Blue Green, and Nickel Green (another good possibility for mist - shown). 

More colors January 03, 2018 10:45

I've been learning more and more about casein and finding out just how very much this stuff is capable of. Lots and lots of glazes, for a start. I haven't had much of a problem with lower layers of paint lifting ever since I quit dipping the brush in water. I just clean it off between colors and then dip it in binder before I dip it in paint. That really helps. 

Lots of paint under the bridge December 26, 2017 10:10

I like that the casein paints I make are not at all chalky or high in tone like I read they would be. I like that I can get a lot of contrast, which I read I would not be able to do with casein (must have been about the casein emulsions). It's really nice that they don't have a smell and they clean up with water. They are really intense because they sit mostly on top of the support. I'm getting the hang of how to mix the binder with the pigments, and I made the right decision to use pigment dispersions instead of sticking to dry pigments. The latter are very romantic but messy, and neatness is not my strong point. And the dispersions allow me to use all sorts of vivid synthetic pigments that would be hellish to try to mix dry for various reasons.

New colors, new paints September 24, 2017 10:46

I found a place that supplies pigments to artists, and what's especially interesting about them is that they sell not only dry pigments but pigment dispersions as well as a variety of viscosities of acrylic binders. The dispersions mean that you can mix your own paint without having to worry about wearing a mask, contaminating your space, or using a muller. You can make these dispersions into acrylics, watercolors, and other stuff. They have a bunch of them.

Speaking My Own Language July 24, 2017 14:14

I started my most recent painting over three times (one of the great things about painting flat with acrylic is being able to start over on the same support). First, I tried some color combinations that I've always liked but never used. I realized that they just weren't me and that I should avoid using these combos in future and instead seek out the colors *I* like to paint with.

The Necessity of Changing My Style June 17, 2017 20:08 1 Comment

There's another reason now for me to move away from incorporating so much line work in my painting. My hands are shaking. Read more...

Supports: Wood Panels June 05, 2017 11:45 2 Comments

Misadventures with panels... For the past year I've been using more wood panels than canvases to paint on, because I like how I can lean my whole arm on them, which helps steady my hand. Read more...



Rose Moon and Vibrating Color June 03, 2017 08:18

In Spirit of Rose Moon, I let myself play with color a lot more. I worked hard with many layers of glazing to get a good gradation in the sky area of pale yellow to pink to blue. My efforts paid off, I think. Read more...


Painting Gimmicks March 26, 2017 18:05

I was sure surprised when I looked at the Dutch still lifes up close and personal and saw that some of them featured way more gimmickry than I had ever imagined. Read more...


Gesso & Brushes January 24, 2017 09:31 1 Comment

I've been messing with gesso a lot. I love the smooth surface I get from using the clay scraper, but it is incredibly messy, so I tried applying it with rollers and then sanding. Read more...


Almost finished with "Hope of Transformation" December 26, 2016 14:18

Hope of Transformation, work in progress, acrylic on wood panel, 18 x 24" by Harold Roth I've been having a very difficult time doing fine detail on some of my paintings. Last night I realized that I could remedy some of that issue by resting my entire forearm on the painting. Read more...

Vessels Series: The Black Crow December 07, 2016 10:43

The Black Crow work in progress, sketch inMy next work in the series is "The Black Crow" (sometimes also called the Black Toad) which is based partly on the alchemical idea of the first stage in alchemy, which involves, yes, rotting or putrefaction. Read more...


Vessels Series: Moon Vessel Finished December 06, 2016 18:46

Moon Vessel surreal landscape by Harold Roth acrylic on canvasI like the vibe of this painting as somewhat like a tarot card. I'm really glad that I started this series. It is much more to my taste than anything else I've done recently. It gets my imagination going and I feel like I am producing much more interesting images. Read more...


Vessels: Moon Vessel November 20, 2016 19:35

Moon Vessel work in progress 112016The symbols of alchemy and magic were the main things that drew me to those paths in the first place, and I want to make them a major part of my art, incorporating them with my interest in natural forms. Read more...

Aquarius Moon is an Asshole + Finished But Not September 18, 2016 15:59

I finished that painting, which became the somewhat odd "Nymph and Her Children." This was my first real step into surrealism, if I can call it that. Since then, I have set off boldly in the surrealist direction. Read more...


So much for that decision September 16, 2016 14:52

Work in progress, Harold Roth, 2016As I sat there letting rock shapes arise from the deliberately uneven colors, I had a sudden flash of not rocks but the shapes of human bodies. I stopped painting and focused on seeing that more clearly. Not bloody bodies or dead people. But just human shapes. Mysterious. Read more...

Indecision: Post-Modern Vanitas vs. Spare Luminism September 11, 2016 15:16

Kensett, Eaton NeckI have been thinking about starting a new series (well, two, actually) of paintings based on industrial buildings and having a connection to the vanitas genre. Read more...


Finally Here! September 06, 2016 10:01

My Blick Light-Duty EaselI moved from Elmira, NY to Pawtucket, RI on August 18/19, but it's taken me all this time just to get sort of settled in. Read more...

Politics and [My] Art July 30, 2016 19:55

Belly of the Beast, acrylic landscape painting by Harold RothSome people believe that the combination of politics and art in general is a deadly mix, but I'm more of the school that art can never be free of politics--that even "art for art's sake" is a political statement (thank you, Russian Formalism).  Read more...


The Intimidations of Canvas June 05, 2016 10:49

Rabbit not wanting to give up its skin for gessoWhen I switched from watercolors to acrylics, I considered painting on canvas--the readymade stuff that comes all stretched and gessoed (with acrylic, not rabbits). But since I did not do brushwork or impasto, which would rule out using paper, and since I was still intimidated by canvas, I ended up continuing to use heavy cold press watercolor paper. Read more...