I have such fond memories of my grandpa. He died young when I was either 7 or 8 years old. He was what I wanted to be when I grew up. He loved children. As a child that felt wonderful. Though my father embodied this statement as well, he did not spend time with me as Grandpa did. I remember “Pa”, that is what we called him. He taught me to play my toy xylophone. We built a model of two black bears. We glued the pieces together and then carefully painted them. We also built a wooden stagecoach model. I valued and treasured each experience like a gift that I kept for years. He instructed me in the value of “The Nurseryman” which he was, by germinating orange seeds in our refrigerator. Seeing them sprout we nurtured the seedlings into trees. We had so many small trees. Year’s later in the tenth grade metal shop class I built a large sheet metal pot to house one final selected tree. I kept this tree for probably 25 more years when it died. Pa seemed to have no limits. He was engaged with his grandchildren and I loved him for it.
When I got my chance with my granddaughter this past year I knew what to do. I cannot tell you how fulfilling this is for me. Passing on what I learned from a great man.
The Paint Brush vs. the Painting Knife
I have been working on this painting “Happy Grandpa” this last week using a paintbrush. I know that using a brush may not be surprising since that is what most painters use. Though for the past 9 years I have been painting solely with a painting knife. Some like to call it a pallet knife others a trowel since it is so large and resembles a cement trowel. I used a Robert Simons No. 8 Signet, 3/4 inch Rosemary & Co. Series 303 and No. 6 Ivory Rigger brushes.
One of the reasons I hated using a paintbrush in the past and began to favor the Painting Knife was because of the nuisance and time wasting effort needed in washing them out with turpentine. As many of you know I paint with M. Graham Oil Paints that are made with Walnut Oil for the last 9 years. No more smelly turpentine’s, I don’t care if they call them odorless or not, I can still smell them, and they give me a headache.
With this brush painting I made use of my paper towels to pull the unwanted paint from my brush. I learned this from years of painting with a Painting Knife. If I need a cleaner brush, I lay it in some Walnut Oil and then pull out the unwanted pigment with a paper towel or rag. This is definitely an added benefit and convenience of brush painting with M. Graham Walnut Oil. Then wash it in Murphy Oil Soap when I am ready to stop painting for the day. I form the bristles of the brush to keep its shape and air-dry it.
Still, when it comes to being expedient a knife is the way to go. If you want softer edges and a little more hassle we always have artist paint brushes.