Mark Isaacs Oil and Acrylic Demo

Yesterday, I attended the general meeting of the Fairfax Art League, a well established and well funded local art organization with two locations that are staffed for sales in the City of Fairfax. The Artist of the Month was Mark A. Isaacs, a self-described Impressionistic painter, who I'd describe more as a Fauvist. Mark likes color. Mark is color. He's an entertaining guy who defies what I would expect from his architectural background.

The three large paintings he brought to demo (actually dabble!) on were of Three Foxes Vineyard in Delaplane, Virginia, one of my favorite vineyards to paint in the area.

He often begins en plein air and finishes up later, sometimes returning to the same site over a period of time. Sometimes he works from pictures or even puts together panoramas as references.

Sometimes he begins with a pastel study done on site.

He likes to establish the flow and puts in sublte contour lines to guide his future painting. He doesn't do thumbnail sketches, instead composing intuitively in his head.

When doing oils, he prefers Griffin alkyds along with a fast-drying Gamblin white. He doesn't use OSM. Instead, he uses canola oil to clean brushes and poppy seed oil to dilute color. He prefers portrait grade, i.e. smooth, canvas and linen.

Many of his acrylics were Golden. He uses both acrylics and oils in the field, slow drying acrylics and fast drying oils. He enjoys going for contrasts in warm/cool or complimentary colors, plus values. Mark enjoys layering warm and cool colors for added affect. "It might look like a swale, " Mark observes of the foreground, "but it's just someplace I wanted to put blue."

So as to not take his painting too seriously or commercially, he considers any current painting to merely be the underpainting basis for another painting. He quipped about a recent sale, "I think they bought the one underneath!"

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