FastMatte Alkyd Oil Colors: Underpainting & Beyond
What are FastMatte Alkyd Oil Colors?
FastMatte Alkyd Oil Colors are fast-drying oil colors for painters who want a uniform drying rate across their palette of colors. Thin layers of FastMatte colors dry to the in approximately 24 hours. These drying rates make FastMatte colors excellent for acrylic painters who are new to oil painting. In addition to their fast-drying rate, these colors dry to a contemporary matte surface. These qualities make them perfect for underpainting techniques – and beyond to a broader array of possibilities.
What is an Alkyd?
Essentially, an alkyd resin is heat polymerized oil. Polymerization is merely the linking up of individual molecules in chains, which is what linseed oil does when it oxidizes (“dries”). The “pre-polymerized” nature of alkyd resin accounts for its fast-drying in alkyd colors and alkyd-based painting mediums. Our alkyd resin is made from soy oil and has a great compatibility with linseed oil. The vehicle in the FastMatte Colors is a combination of refined linseed oil and alkyd resin.
Jonathan Simon: Traditional techniques, without waiting and without compromise.
The FastMatte colors have become a permanent fixture on the palette of Alabama-based figurative painter Jonathan Simon. Utilizing the colors’ fast drying rate and balanced color palette, Jonathan establishes the value variations and skin tones in the early stages of his painting process.
Jonathan starts each painting by creating a wash of FastMatte Transparent Earth Red over the entire canvas. He immediately works into the surface with a cloth – working reductively to define the light areas of the composition. Jonathan establishes the darker values by incorporating FastMatte Chromatic Black into the Transparent Earth Red.
“Using the FastMatte allows me to paint much faster,” says Jonathan. “I like working wet into wet for the day. The Fast Matte stays open long enough to do this, but dries fast enough to have a dry paint surface to paint over the following day. This initial layer establishes a strong drawing and a strong sense of value to build on. The previous layers in FastMatte give me a great surface for the oils to adhere to, as well as giving me an underlining layer of paint that allowed the final layers to go on much quicker.
Once the value relationships are established, Jonathan uses a FastMatte palette of Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow, Naphol Scarlet, Alizarin Permanent, Transparent Earth Red, Viridian, Ultramarine Blue and Chromatic Black to capture the skin tones and turn the form of the figure. Once these layers are dry, Jonathan switches to Gamblin’s traditional oil colors and Galkyd Slow Dry painting medium, as these materials support the subtle blending of color and fine detail work toward the completion of his painting.”
Cynda Valle: In search for a Super White
For years, California figurative painter Cynda Valle has used strong contrast between thin, transparent dark glazes and thicker, opaque lights to create the overall illusion of space and light. She was searching for a way to “beef up” the white she uses in the thickest highlights of her work. She also wanted an opaque, fast-drying white to use as a foundation for her richly-colored glaze layers. The result is a color sensibility in her work that is as electric as it is naturalistic. “I was so excited to find FastMatte Titanium White was the answer to both! It’s responsible for the higher key and saturation of my recent work and the greater contrast between the thin and thick parts of my painting!”
The FastMatte Transparent Earth Red and Titanium White are incorporated into the detailed underpainting for her painting “Family Circle.” For her underpainting efforts, Transparent Earth Red makes a highly saturated, yet transparent ground color.
Michael Chesley Johnson: Mark-making beyond traditional oils.
Michael Chesley Johnson creates fresh, painterly landscapes on site, working mostly in the American Southwest and Canadian Maritimes. Working alla prima, Michael appreciates the fast-drying rate of the FastMatte colors, as they keep his colors rich and clean. This allows him to create a visual vibrancy in his work through simultaneous contrast – layering complementary colors one on top of the other.
Michael’s FastMatte palette consists of Hansa Yellow Medium, Napthol Scarlet, Transparent Earth Red, Quinacridone Red, Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Green, Titanium White and Chromatic Black.
On the use of black in his palette, Michael states, “Although some painters avoid black, I use it with relish. Its main purpose is not to darken color but to grey it. Chromatic Black is a very handy when using a palette with intense, modern pigments and you are painting landscapes, which contain a great deal of muted color.”
In addition to working in oils, Michael is an accomplished pastel artist. Michael utilizes this dry medium to create a rich visual language, incorporating passages of “broken” color and mark-making. The unique working properties and faster drying rate of the FastMatte colors enable him to continue these painterly effects in his oil paintings, yielding qualities that are visually analogous to his pastel work.
“Not only do the FastMatte colors dry quickly, which make things go faster, but they also gave the surface a beautiful texture. Because the paint increases in tack during the painting session, I can lay down broken color quite easily. The final result resembles my pastels, in which I use broken color to great effect. Here’s a detail of “Snowy Heights” so you can see how the color breaks. It’s delicious!”
Jamee Linton-Kelly: Colors that keep pace with the flow of your ideas.
Jamee Linton-Kelly uses multiple tools when applying color to achieve variety in mark-making in her abstracted landscapes.
“I love the working properties of the FastMatte colors, they allow me to apply thick impasto applications with a palette knife and they hold the marks as the paint dries. It is an excellent way to build up texture while yielding quick dry times for the subsequent layers.”
Jamee will also allow the colors to partially dry then scrape into the paint layers to reveal hints of the colors below.
Jamee creates her initial paint layers with the FastMatte colors and a 1:1 mixture of Galkyd and Gamsol to thin the colors as needed. Sometimes the abstract pieces are alla prima, other times there is a build up of multiple layers. “I love that these colors are great for underpainting, but if my piece happens to be finished in one session I can varnish the matte surface with Gamvar to achieve a beautiful gloss finish that looks as though it was created with traditional oils. The FastMatte colors are so versatile.”
Another way the Jamee uses the FastMatte colors is to create custom dry times for her colors. “I love Titanium-Zinc White – it is a staple on my palette. However, it dries either too fast or too slow for my process. I use the FastMatte Titanium White and mix it with Titanium Zinc White in varying proportions to create the ideal working properties and dry time for each specific piece.”
“I also mix the FastMatte colors, like Indian Yellow and Sap Green, into Gamblin’s traditional versions of these colors to speed up the drying time or reduce gloss without effecting color intensity or transparency. Painting mediums are great and I use them all the time, but sometimes I prefer not to thin the color with a medium. Instead, I use the FastMatte colors as a sort of ‘quick dry medium,’ helping me to speed up the process while allowing me to retain the textual qualities of the color.”
Todd Sargood: Intersections of Painting & Drawing
Abstract painter Todd Sargood incorporates many different media in his paint layers and needs a fast-drying paint that has a smooth, flat, moderately toothy surface that can hold pencil, graphite and pen marks. The tooth is important for providing a stable ground for successive layers of paint. High opacity and pigment density is also important. In the past, Todd has used various painting media and additives to get a specific surface texture and drying time, but often achieved inconsistent and/or unstable results. It was also difficult to get deep, rich, and opaque colors because of all of the additives he was putting into the paint.
Todd states, “I have used Gamblin’s regular oil paints for quite some time, so when I ran across Gamblin Fastmatte colors in the art store, I decided to give them a try. The first time I used them I was amazed, they have all the traits I’ve been searching for without all the futzing with media to get the paint right. They have greatly simplified my set-up and have freed up more time for me to actually paint. I am also able to achieve more consistent, dependable and repeatable outcomes. It’s like you guys read my mind. Freaky.”
Todd tried acrylics mixed with matte medium or acrylic gesso, which can hold pen and pencil marks well, but, he explains, “they could never get the pigment density and opacity that I can with FastMatte colors. FastMatte also dries quickly, but not too quickly. I put paint down in large swathes and then push it around a bit with a palette knife over a period of time. Acrylics also have a very short working time, and would set up before I could sculpt the paint to the desired texture. With Fastmatte, I’m usually able to work over even thickly applied layers in a day or so–but it has a long enough working time so that I can push it around and work other colors into it for some time before it sets up too much.”
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