He’s wearing fuck-me boots

With today my last painting day before the holidays, I was keen to get started on Cromwell, and he’s proving an enjoyable model. I was also excited to try out the new Jo Sonja paints my wife gave me (we’re travelling for Christmas, so we gave each other gifts a couple of days early). So, after today’s session, the arch-anti-monarchist is at this stage:

The coat will be black – he was a puritan after all, and I couldn’t find a colour that would work with the trousers and fuck-me boots as well as black will. Also, I enjoy painting black.

The last picture shows how the table will be placed. I decided to go with the bench rather than table legs because:

a) The art shows a bench. I hadn’t paid all that much attention when thinking about it previously; and
b) With the space between the figure and the bench, it doesn’t actually obscure him all that much, especially for the viewer, who will normally be above the model’s eye height.

Still a bit of work to do on that, but it’ll be a bit nicer than trying to make a table leg look like it deserves to be there.

Anyway, Jo Sonja paints. I’ve seen a few people try them out over the last few years and generally heard good things about them. Interestingly, the most positive comments have come from people who are relatively new to acrylics or have normally favoured oils or enamels. I figured this meant the paints would behave more like those, or perhaps would have some other property that makes them fun to work with. I’ve only done a small amount with them, but I have a few observations:

  1. The pigment is pretty incredible – in some ways, the paints feel a little chalky when you’re working them on the palette, but that’s the pigment itself. There’s no real loss of intensity when you dilute them, and they don’t separate at all (not that I’ve seen, anyway).
  2. You can work with them impasto, which is to say straight from the pot and quite thick. I had difficulty getting a smooth coat on Cromwell’s forehead, so I just slapped it on and it dried nicely, without lumpiness, and left a good key for further layers to adhere to. I also used this property to speed up some of the shading: just slapped it onto the shadow, then licked my brush and feathered to blend.
  3. If you get them in bottles as I did, you may need to shake them for quite a while to mix the medium in thoroughly. One of the paints was extremely glossy, which I suspect is down to this as the others are a really nice matte (and not the ultra-matte chalkiness you see from some paints).

All things considered, I’m very pleased with them.

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