Sunday, February 7, 2016

How to Varnish an Oil Painting


If you're like a lot of people just learning how to paint with oils, you might be intimidated by the thought of applying a final varnish to an oil painting.  Some techniques might seem complicated at first, and it's understandable to be afraid of botching your labour of love by not properly varnishing your painting, and many people have.

I've heard horror stories of people ruining art they slaved over because of various reasons, from not being certain how to use a certain product or method, to not waiting until enough time had lapsed from a work's completion to being dry enough to paint.

Traditionally, one must wait from 6-12 months before applying a final varnish.  Paints need time to cure this long depending on the paint's thickness before being able to varnish.  Why? Because, if you apply a final varnish too soon and the paint is not dry underneath the first dry layers, the varnish will dry faster than the paint, and the underneath layers will cause the varnish to crack over time as the final paint layers dry.

The thought of this alone has put off many people from varnishing an oil painting.  Many use retouch varnish alone and nothing else.  Retouch is fine for situations where you want to hang a piece for a show and plan to varnish later.

Which brings me to another point.  Do you HAVE to varnish an oil painting? No. Should you varnish an oil painting?  YES!

Varnishing will protect your masterpiece from dust, smoke, dirt, and other pollutants.  It'll also give it a nice even finish, as well as bring out the richness of the pigment or enhance the pigments.

I used to be one of those that hated varnishing.  I hated the fumes and I hated the waiting time.  Retouch varnish often was a blessing, but I still wanted a final varnish.  Gamblin's Gamvar varnish was the answer.

Since I started using Gamvar, I've never looked back.  It's easy to use and has no fumes.  You can use it as soon as your painting is dry to the touch.  You can ship artwork three days after varnishing.  It's a final varnish.  One coat is all you need unless you want a very glossy finish.  It's just the best freaking varnish out there.

Varnishing a painting need to be intimidating anymore.  It's downright easy to do and you never need to fear messing up your masterpiece.  Enjoy varnishing!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A New Alla Prima Oil Painting

Silver & Fig
6 x 6 Oil, alla prima
©2016 Carole Rodrigue

Hello everyone!  I painted this one today alla prima, in one sitting.  I didn't record it though.  It wasn't my intention to paint alla prima today, but once I started I got lost in my work and kept on until it was done.  Had I known I would paint it alla prima, I definitely would've recorded this.

I love these quick little alla prima pieces.  They can be challenging.  Working in wet paint doesn't always turn out the way you want it to so each time is a new challenge.  It's very satisfying when it goes well and you end up with work you're happy with, as I am with this one.

My studio also has a wildlife art piece on my easel.  I started it the other day and it's a larger work that will take more time and will require a lot of layers and then detailing.  It's been a long time since I've done wildlife but I've had the itch lately, especially with birds.  I think I might start incorporating more birds in my still life work too . . .

Hope you enjoyed this one, and if you did, it is now up on eBay for auction.  I will be holding auctions for a little while again but I'm not certain for how long, so do not miss out on the chance to own original art work  for low prices! It's a great way to collect.  I don't sell my work for this low, so don't miss out!

If you want to see more of my work, don't forget to visit my website at

I'll be back soon but until then, I hope you all take care.  :-)

#allaprima #oilpainting #stilllife #figs #silver #fruit #fineart #realism #realistartists 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New Video and a Giveaway!

Happy New Year my friends!  In the video below you will find my first completed painting for 2016 and you can watch it's creation in this short demonstration. I'm having a blast recording these speed painting videos and will keep making more.  I'm still learning the ropes in movie making and they're far from perfect, but I'm still putting them out there.  I'm learning the ropes as I go along. :-D 

I'm also very excited to announce a contest I'm holding.  For all those who subscribe to my newsletter and for current newsletter subscribers, your name will be entered in a draw to win the above original oil painting on June 1st, 2016! Current subscribers need to apply again; your names will be automatically entered.  I will then hold a new draw every six months, so it's a pretty good idea to remain subscribed.  ;-)

I have so many exciting plans for this coming year and I'm just getting started.  Be sure to get my newsletter so you can stay up to date!

For now, I have new work I need to get to so I'd better run.  Stay tunes, and by the way, you can see the painting in the video HERE as well as place an eBay bid HERE.  

Thanks for stopping by! 

#artdemo #speedpainting #oilpaintingdemonstration #onlineartlessons #oilstilllife

Monday, January 4, 2016

How to Tone a Canvas Video Tutorial

Friends, I know I've already made a post in the past about how important it is to tone a canvas or support, but I also wanted to make a video.

I've read so many comments online and on YouTube videos where people criticize artists for having a toned background. They leave comments such as,"Why are you bothering to paint that just to cover it up with white?", or other comments to that effect.  While they're good questions, it's important to understand why it's such an important part of the oil painting process.

Often, I've also had people ask me how I painted so fast: this is part of the reason why I can create daily paintings really quickly and still make them look tight and realistic.

I list a few important reasons why in the video.  I always tone my canvas and supports now and this has improved my painting a great deal.  I can't imagine NOT toning a ground on my canvases anymore.  It's just such a crucial part of my process.

In this video, I tone using turpentine and burnt umber.  I create a wash over the supports, gesso panel in this case.  I leave the wash set for about five minutes, and then wipe off with paper towels.  You can also use lint-free cloths but it can get expensive after a while, so paper towels it is for me. Let the supports dry for at least 24 hours before painting on them. I also like to tone several panels or canvases at once since I'm already stinking up the studio with turp fumes.  This way, I've also always got a supply of ready supports that I can just pull out and paint on when the mood strikes me.  

Have a look, give it a try, and then a few more tries.  Once you get used to this method, you'll never want to paint on a white canvas again.

Happy painting!

#paintingtips #onlineartlessons #howtopaintwithoils 

Friday, December 11, 2015

New Oil Painting Demo! Santa Baby III

Santa Baby III
6 x 8 oil
Carole Rodrigue ©2015
Available, please contact

Hello!  I painted this little gem and recorded the process.  This is the third yearly Santa Baby painting.  In the first two years, I painted the same ornament, but I wanted to change it up this year and this little guy was perfect.  It also satisfied my desire to paint a snowman too.

Recording this wasn't without issues.  I record using an iPad, using several sort clips that I have to upload as I go along otherwise I run out of room on the iPad.  I stitch all the clips together when I create the video.  Finding the right angle to get a good view is difficult too, but these things will all fall into place as I do more.

The biggest issue I had was loosing my video four times as I worked in iMovie.  I cannot stress how stressed I was! I'm putting it mildly when I say that there was a lot of frustration and I felt like banging my head on my desk many times.  The worst was the fourth time I lost it.  I was done, music and all.  I was just inserting the very last tile for the music credits, and boom.  My Mac froze and the only way out was to force a quit. Every time I've had to force a quit, I lost everything.  Can you imagine my pleasant surprise when I reopened the app and saw my full video there intact? I wanted to dance on my desk!

So, that's my latest adventure in movie-making.  And do you think this would deter me from making more? Nope.  No way Jose.  I'm planning the next one already . . .  Stay tuned!

If I don't get a chance to post again before Christmas, please consider this post as my Merry Christmas to everyone.  I thank you all so much for your support and for having visited my art blog throughout the last year.  Thank you, and many blessings to you and yours!  xoxoxo  <3

#oilpaintingdemo #artdemo #paintingdemonstration #paintinglesson #speedpainting #artcollectors #Christmasart #Christmaspainting #Santapaintings #snowmanpaintings #fineart #oilpainting

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Le Nouveau Louvre Art Show at the GNO

JOHN LAPPA/SUDBURY STAR file photo The Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario
 is full to capacity for an earlier Nouveau Louvre exhibit.

Hi everyone!  The holidays are almost upon us and with this time of year comes the GNO's "Le Nouveau Louvre" art show!  There are many wonderful artists exhibiting this yearly show where part of the proceeds raise money to support the gallery for the year, and the rest goes to the artists.  

Pieces of various styles and sizes are each sold  for $200.00.  Of this total, $75 goes to the gallery, and the artist keeps $125.00.  This is a FABULOUS win-win for both the gallery and the artists and is the right way to do a fundraiser using art! I will write about fundraising in my next post . . .

The Sudbury Star wrote an article on the GNO's fundraiser and you can read about it here

You can also have a look at the art currently available at the GNO's website.  I sold one but have a few others available.  Please have a look or stop by and buy some art! If you have someone on your list that you don't know what to buy for, giving an original work is a fabulous gift idea.  :-D

So, have a great time checking out Le Nouveau Louvre!  I will be back soon with a post on art and charities, which can be a very controversial subject.  See you soon! 

#GNO #laGallerieduNouvelOntario #LeNouveauLouvre #artshow #Sudburyarts #Sudburyartscene #Christmasgiftideas #artists #art 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dog Oil Painting Demo

Taja, Shih Tzu Portrait
8 x 10 Oil
Carole Rodrigue ©2015

This painting took a while.  It wasn't the painting itself that created issues, but the recording of the process.  I wanted to create a video showing the work in progress and boy, did I have issues!  I even lost about 1.5 hours of recording, but in the end, it turned out well because I had to condense over 8 hours of painting into less than fifteen minutes.  So, yes, a lot had to be edited out by necessity.  

I'm really enjoying creating these videos.  I've been told by so many people that they enjoy seeing the process. So many people don't know what exactly is involved in creating a painting and many think that you just put brush down to canvas and a perfect section instantly appears.  Not so.  It takes many layers of paint, many hours, and a lot of thinking and planning to execute a painting.  Even before the first dab of paint appears, hours of work have gone into planning and preparation, sketching . . . 

I do hope that you like this painting.  If you do, please feel free to share my video, post the photo on Pinterest with credit, just share.  I am of course available for private commissions so please do not hesitate to contact me for info.  I have tips on how to prepare your pet photos for a commissioned painting at 

Thanks for popping in and having a look.  Please enjoy the video! 

#speedpainting #dogpaintingdemo #howtopaintdogs #petportraitsinoil #oilpaintings #paintinganimals #animalart #dogart #petportraits