Work in progress: the bathers

painting on a cigar box; oil and graphite on wood
work in progress: graphite and oils on wood cigar box

I completed the graphite work and began painting oil glazes on this piece last night. In the background can be seen some of the other items in my collection of panels and pieces for future projects. (The one just next the cigar box is one of the panels T.L. crafted for me from found wood and some balsa wood strips for a cradle.)

Here is what I learned:
Cigar box wood is very porous, incredibly thirsty! (It’s cheap- very different to the lovely old hardwood of the drawer I used on the previous piece.) Even with a very linseed-heavy glaze, the paint barely moved. So mid way through the first panel, I used a rag to saturate the entire surface with oil, and that helped a bit. I did the same on the right-hand panel before even starting with the paint. I have another of these boxes, so my next experiment will be to put apply thin coats of clear gesso•, then sand, and repeat. This will hopefully result in a better ground for both the graphite and  the oil glazes– to fill in some of the pores, but maintain a semi-absorbent, smooth surface.

Update: (Jan 31)
Third lady painted last night, as well as more detail and layers on the first two.

The Bathers: graphite & oil on wooden cigar box

(* the clear gesso will also be applied to the backs of the unfinished wood panels to prevent buckling that can occur when only one side of a piece of wood is painted or finished– thanks to the Mad Framer for that bit of useful info)

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