A Passion for Paint

//A Passion for Paint

A Passion for Paint

"No Direction But Its Own Bright Grace," a new painting from my upcoming Water Series done with Michael Harding paints (the colors used were Bright Green Lake--a new favorite--Pthalo Blue Lake, Alizarin Crimson, and Titanium White

No Direc­tion But Its Own Bright Grace,” a new paint­ing from my upcom­ing Water Series done with Michael Hard­ing paints (the col­ors used were Bright Green Lake–a new favorite–Pthalo Blue Lake, Alizarin Crim­son, and Tita­ni­um White

We artists can’t help but be trans­fixed by and have a pas­sion for paint. It beck­ons in its own qui­et, seduc­tive way: “Use me. I will make your art stand out. I will help you cre­ate beau­ty unlike any you’ve known so far.”

We know intel­lec­tu­al­ly, of course, that it’s not the paint that will make or break our art. After all, there are many good and great paints out there. If we have put all of our hard-learned expe­ri­ence and tech­nique, as well as our voice and heart and soul into a piece, would any­one tru­ly know if we used, say, Win­ton instead of Gam­blin, Rem­brandt instead of Old Hol­land? As long as we keep our focus on putting the time and ener­gy into grow­ing and learn­ing every day when it comes to our art, the brand of paint isn’t what’s going to dis­tin­guish our work from any­one else’s.

Some very well known and respect­ed artists, like Stu­art Shils and Dan McCaw, pur­pose­ful­ly use the cheap­est brush­es and paints they can, for instance. They don’t want to let the expense of high­er-end mate­ri­als block their free­dom in the paint­ing process. (Some­times, we can inad­ver­tent­ly block our­selves if we use expen­sive tools, because in the backs of our minds, we think, “I mustn’t waste all this mon­ey. I must cre­ate some­thing GREAT with what I’ve pur­chased.” That kind of pres­sure on our­selves can be a crush­ing killer when it comes to our cre­ativ­i­ty and the required sense of “flow” in mak­ing art, espe­cial­ly if we’re just start­ing out, but still a risk no mat­ter where we are in our careers.)

And yet …

What if there were an artist who had such a pas­sion for beau­ti­ful paint that he decid­ed to make some him­self? And then, what if he had the gump­tion and where­with­al to cre­ate that paint and man­u­fac­ture it and then vis­it oth­er artists to have them try the paints out and talk with them about his process in cre­at­ing the most vibrant and emo­tion­al­ly res­onat­ing col­ors and con­sis­ten­cy avail­able? And, if that weren’t enough, what if he made them afford­able?

Enter Michael Hard­ing.

Now, I’d heard from oth­er artists about Michael’s paints, and I’d smile as they went on about how great he was and how won­der­ful his paints are. I was polite, but my inner voice said, “Don’t fall for it. You are not a rich woman. Stick with your Gam­blins and Rem­brandts and Grum­bach­ers and Charvins that you buy only dur­ing spe­cial sales. Focus on mak­ing your art, not on buy­ing more mate­ri­als.”

I’d heard his col­ors were more sat­u­rat­ed than any oth­ers on the mar­ket. Well, that got my atten­tion. But I still wouldn’t bite. I couldn’t afford to, or so I thought.

Michael Harding talking about his paints

Michael Hard­ing talks with artists about his paints, which are dis­played in front of him. You can see some of the artists’ “play” on the paper in the fore­ground.

Then I had a chance to go to one of Michael’s demon­stra­tions, giv­en at Gail Sauter’s stu­dio in Kit­tery, ME. He laid all his paints out. There were palette knives and sheets of spe­cial­ly coat­ed paper for us to try what­ev­er col­ors we want­ed.

I chose Cobalt Vio­let and Pruss­ian Blue and King’s Blue Deep and Lemon Yel­low and Terre Verte. I was think­ing about iris­es. How dif­fi­cult it is to cap­ture my impres­sion of the par­tic­u­lar blue/violet hue in the flow­ers and the par­tic­u­lar yellow/gray/green in the stems and leaves. I’ve come close, but nev­er as close as I want­ed.

I smeared the paint onto the paper, enjoy­ing the just-right but­tery tex­ture: not too thick, not too run­ny for my style of paint­ing (which is thick and fast). I let one col­or blend into anoth­er and mar­veled at how well they played togeth­er. I tried to be skep­ti­cal, I real­ly did. But who was I kid­ding? I was smit­ten. I had no choice but to buy them. Yes, I caved. And I’m ever so glad I did.

Maine Beach, Twilight original oil painting by Dawn Boyer, 16 x 20 inches, oil

Maine Beach, Twi­light,” © Dawn Boy­er, 16 x 20 oil on cra­dled pan­el, cre­at­ed with Michael Hard­ing Pruss­ian Blue, Ptha­lo Blue Lake, Alizarin Crim­son (Wind­sor & New­ton), Virid­i­an (Gam­blin), Cad Yel­low (Gam­blin). There may be some Ultra­ma­rine Blue thrown in too–I was too much “in the flow” to remem­ber.

Michael Harding’s paints are phe­nom­e­nal. So far, I love them. The pure joy and delight I get in using them helps me cre­ate bet­ter paint­ings. I swear, this isn’t a ratio­nal­iza­tion. Because the price was rea­son­able (he gave us an added 30% dis­count off of already dis­count­ed prices, which is what made me decide to buy them), I don’t wor­ry about wast­ing paint, which allows me to be free in my process. This way, I also have the added ben­e­fit of giv­ing my col­lec­tors art­work that will last for cen­turies because the paints are made to. Last, that is. With­out fad­ing. Or turn­ing. I like the idea that they will look 100 years from now the way they do today.

I have cre­at­ed a cou­ple of twi­light seascapes with them. This week, I will also be paint­ing lakescapes and gar­den­scapes as I vaca­tion on Lake Michi­gan. And I will report fur­ther about the dif­fer­ence the paints make.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on Michael Hard­ing paints, as well as the paint­ings I’ll be cre­at­ing with them.

By |2017-03-02T20:20:58+00:00June 30th, 2014|Uncategorized|1 Comment

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One Comment

  1. […] in that pack­age were new Michael Hard­ing oil col­ors. (I wrote about Michael Harding’s paints in an ear­li­er post. They real­ly are like no oth­er when it comes to col­or pure­ness and sat­u­ra­tion.) […]

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