Art Studio and Tools
My minimalist portable studio now has a view into my orchard.
Eco-Friendly Art Media
I strive to provide exceptional archival quality of my paintings for the art lovers and collectors, while using most sustainable, minimalist, and environmentally friendly methods of producing hand-made art.
Lightfast Paints and Mediums
I primarily work with single-pigment professional paints that have highest lightfastness ratings. Most of them are made from permanent minerals and based on natural gum arabic or pure polymer, without fillers or solvents. Some paints I make myself.
Almost all my works are sealed with clear isolation layer, sometimes with additional UV protection for color permanence if needed.
Pigments and Paints
My main mediums are acrylic polymers of various properties (fluid, heavy body, and pastes), gum arabic, and distilled water.
Pains I choose by quality and ingredients after a substantial research and testing. Ideal pain for me should be single pigment of lightfastness 8 on the Blue Wool Scale, ASTM excellent, have high pigment load with minimum and only necessary additives.
I often manipulate permanent pigments like iron oxides in my own way by making paints, sticks, pastes, and tools to apply them to pre-treated surfaces.
My palette was always narrow, and I create even more limited color palettes for each series or a single painting. About 9 pigments I keep in the studio permanently, and and my maximum was 24 at a time. I usually choose only 2-5 of them for an artwork, often splitting the range even further for transparent layers.
In acrylics, my favorite brand is Golden for both fluid and heavy body paints and mediums. I also like French Liquitex, and sometime use Holbein and German Lucas professional.
In aquarelle, I choose tubes from Da Vinci, Winsor & Newton, and Daniel Smith.
Archival Quality and Found Supports
My art ground of choice is 100% cotton - canvas and rag papers, hand and mould made from renewable fibers, without use of animal products in the sizing layers. Sometimes I use recycled manufactured or found and repurposed archival (pH neutral) papers, textiles, and textural materials like sand or marble dust, and ground them with acrylic mediums.
For aquarelle on cotton rug (heavier watercolor papers), I choose mould made whit 100% cotton, without optical bleaching, chlorine and acid free - guaranteeing long conservation and inalterability. I prefer rough unpressed surface and a special formula of sizing, Italian Fabriano Artistico being my favorite brand (no animal industry by-products used). 300 gsm (140 lb) is the best paper weight for me - heavy but still flexible.
When I work on canvas, I usually apply foundation grounds myself - a toned gesso based on acrylic polymer, to which I add marble dust and pigments. Sometimes I stain canvas first and seal it with a clear acrylic medium. I prefer unstreached, heavy cotton, unprimed canvases, and avoid working on anything that includes new wood - for environmental and ethical reasons. If my technique calls for a harder ground, I search for artist grade recycled canvas boards, or mount cotton on sealed found objects.
My Brushes and Tools
I paint with ethically sourced or synthetic brushes and self-made implements, using eco-friendly materials whenever possible and reasonable.
My favorite watercolor brushes are:
- Princeton Neptune (#4750 Synthetic Squirrel): Flat 1", Round 12, Mottler 1-1/2", Dagger 1/2;
- followed by Mimik Kolinsky Round 16, Mimic Round 30, 12, 6, 4, 2, Wash 3", Rigger 2;
- and finally Sterling Edward's large brushes.
For acrylics, almost any synthetic long-handle filbert brush would do, but I prefer imitation bristle filberts. The only preference I have is the Da Vinci Cosmotop-Spin 5584, pointed oval wash, #16 and up. I had mine for 20 years. I still gently use my repurposed childhood oil brush.
My easels are made from metal, and I use minimal amount of storage equipment (metal shelves, textile folios, etc.).
Most of my paintings can be exhibited with exposed edges, which does not require framing or matting. This way they can be framed and presented according to the owner's wish. I do not use new wooden surfaces or support structures.