Cave Sheep and Black Swans

Last fall my sensitivity to paint thinner got so bad I had to close up my studio and quit painting when the weather turned cold because I could no longer open the windows and adequately ventilate my studio. This was fairly devastating and I wondered if I would need to switch to acrylic paint, which is akin to staring into the abyss for me.

And I think I’ve finally found a solution. People tell me that there are alternative ways to thin oil paints without the use of solvents. So I can continue to use oil paints, and thin them with a water based medium (which sounds like it bends space, time and physics but hey, as long as it works, right?)

I got my hands on something called “Medium W”, a galkyd medium which the sales clerk assured me would free me from working with solvents, and I am super excited to dive into my next painting.

In lew of painting I’ve been keeping a sketchbook, so there’s tons of material to pull from that’s been collecting within the pages. This is the drawing I’m selected to translate into oil paint:


Beribboned Sheep graze within a cave beside pink and gold pools in which black swans swim. A small orange figure in a balloon suit floats by a cloudy opening in the cave wall.

Where did this particular idea come from? I was scrolling through Facebook and saw that a friend had posted a picture of lambs, commenting that it was apparently lamb season, and that spring must finally be here. That post and comment somehow sparked this image in my mind, which I suppose alludes to the transition of seasons from Winter to Spring. Or something like that, I try not to question things too much and just run with it.

The canvas is already stretched and the primer is drying, can’t wait to get started.