Benjamin Bridges on colour, paint and painting

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Benjamin Bridges; colour, paint and painting

“I paint in oils, even the small sculpture that i make are painted in oils. It has become a very intuitive medium for me. I love to collect colours, from different companies but the majority of my paints are either Michael Harding or Old Holland. Both Brands have potent pigments and a lovely constancy. Though I try to keep my pallet broad, I find that I am drawn to certain colours. Most noticeably in my work are Indian Yellow and Phthalocyanine Turquoise which are my go to colours when I have a problem to work through. There is also a great Magenta from Bloxx and MH’s Unbleached Titanium Dioxide.

Ive worked on a number of surfaces in the past. I love the grain and edge of ply, the glow of perspex and the tone and colour of linen. At the moment I sometimes paint on MDF panels but mainly on stretched canvas. I use a 10oz ultra smooth contain duck from Russell and Chapel that is incredibly even, stretches well and has a grain good for both blending and staining.

My work is currently quite varied. Ive been thinking a lot about some of the defining aspects of really interesting painting. I keep coming back to effortless gestures. Those lines and simple blocks of colour which are able to communicate so much. From a distance you see something but you approach and all you are left with is the gesture, which is beautiful in its own right. I think painting allows me to say so much with so little. As in this glacier painting I’m leaving much more of the making visible, and letting the paint, marks and surface do the talking for me.” ~ Benjamin Bridges

Benjamin’s work can currently be seen in ‘BENJAMIN BRIDGES: PYTHAGORAS ADRIFT’ at the dalla Rosa Gallery 14 March – 12 April 2014

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Sarah R Key on colour, paint and painting

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Sarah R Key; colour, paint and painting

“I work with acrylic paints on panel at the moment, and largely over the past decade I’ve focused technical development on my use of specific quality acrylic paints. In the last three years I have also explored working with oils (Lefranc & Borgeois) and Egg Tempera (Sennelier) for particular bodies of work, where I was interested in the subtle and different qualities they offer.

The processes I currently use are best suited to acrylic paint and GAC acrylic polymer mediums. I work quickly on grounds with many layers, employing various methods of application and removal. I am interested in developing rich surfaces where there are definable qualities of difference at play – through sheen and solid plasticity, and through fuzzy areas and flat planes. I get through lots of masking tape and find low tack Scotch or Duck preferable to Frog (a personal preference – I know some artists who swear by Frog, but I find it tends to bleed more if I have even the shallowest striation on the ground). I couldn’t work without my 20cm Cinghiale Brush brought from an Italian hardware store – this type of brush from Italy don’t seem to lose bristles, being of generally high quality. I use a wide range of small, medium and tiny brushes, as well as other less conventional instruments on occasion. Templates are also something I use to develop imagery, tending toward appropriation of existing ones that are not designed for painting at all. I do also have a designers flexi-curve.

I use Golden Fluid Acrylics, which have a very high intensity of pigment and the consistency of un-whipped double cream. I switched from Liquitex because they reduced their Soft Body range a few years ago, discontinuing some of my favorites, like Baltic Blue. I was really despondent when Liquitex did this, but as it happens my palette became more advanced when I started mixing from Golden paints. With Golden Fluids, I always use their Titanium White, Carbon Black and Paynes Gray. The list of colours I buy evolves gently with each order, but with a few favorites: Turquoise (Phthalo), Cobalt Teal, Permanent Green Light, Phthalo Blue (Green and Red shades), Hansa Yellow Medium, Yellow and Red Oxide, Pyrrole Red.

I’ll work on my own palette from a very open base and find that this enables a broad variety to emerge within a set of parameters. I’m quite involved with greys at the moment, alongside a more intensely synthetic colour range. Since discovering Liquitex and Golden, I have never even thought of returning to any other acrylics. As for surface preparation, I only use Gesso (Golden or Roberson’s Acrylic Gesso) – black and white.

I’m working a lot on panel at the moment. I have brought it in on occasion (cradled archival maple panels from a company called Art Boards in Brooklyn, NY) but prefer now to put my own together using a premium birch faced ply and planed soft wood timber. It’s less ‘precious’, more economical and they are more robust to work on. I do also work on canvas (unprimed 10oz cotton duck) and tend to use the Museum 45 stretcher bars (from Pegasus) that are a non-warping design using laminate wood – I’ve found them to be sturdy and reliable for larger work. Without a workshop facility these are a good option, and I cut my teeth making my own at art school, with lap joints and chiseled sections for cross bars, so I don’t feel too bad about short cutting these days!” ~ Sarah R Key

Sarah’s work will be featured in the upcoming ‘Enclosures/Elsewhere’ show at Lion & Lamb and has a solo show at New Court Gallery, later in the year.

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Simon Carter on colour, paint and painting

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Simon Carter; colour, paint and painting

“I used to work in oils; several years ago I started underpainting in acrylic in order to speed things up and I found I liked what the acrylic paint would do. Unlike oils there were few structural or technical considerations in how it could be used. It was fast and easily allowed big spontaneous changes. I now just use acrylics.

I have a fairly limited palette of colours: Ultramarine and Cerulean Blue, Cadmium Red, Crimson, Cadmium Yellow, Phthalo Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber and Titanium White. I often have some Permanent Rose about as I have a bit of a thing for it (I especially like it in watercolour). In the past I have also used Emerald Green, Cobalt Blue, Violet and Lemon Yellow but have found none of them indispensable. I use about four times as much white as any other colour.

Currently I am using Spectrum Spectracryl colours which I buy in bulk direct from the manufacturer. I usually buy them in 2.5 litre tubs and decant them into smaller jars. They are good paints at a good price, my only complaint being that their yellow is a little thin and bodiless but I can overcome this by adding acrylic gel to it. The only other medium I use is a retarder in warmer weather.

In the past I have enjoyed using Tri-Art acrylics, manufactured in Canada, until Atlantis discontinued stocking them.

I paint on stretched canvas. I make up the larger canvases myself using the fabulously robust large professional stretcher bars from Jackson’s. I stretch a 12oz unprimed cotton canvas and double prime it with Spectrum acrylic primer. I buy the smaller canvases ready made again from Jackson’s. I use either the Italian fine grade cotton canvases, which have a smooth, delicate surface, or Jackson’s own premium cotton canvases which have a rougher, but not mechanical, surface.

I also paint on paper. I use Snowdon 300gsm paper which is, I think, a printmaking paper but is extremely robust and takes a lot of paint. It can also be bought in very large (100 x 140cm) sheets from Atlantis.” ~ Simon Carter

Simon’s work recently featured in the exhibition: ‘East coast influences’ at Messum’s, London.