School of Painting


This method of painting has probably been around for ages.I had been painting developing this method for several years when in 1987 I saw a Gauguin exhibit at the National Gallery in D.C. Among the many works was a window, frame and all that had been painted by the savage himself. I had developed it on my own and have found it to be simple,inexpensive and very conducive to free expression by one lacking in drawing ability or formal training. I suppose it could be said that it is no more than painting by the numbers without the numbers. All that is required is a few cheap supplies and a desire to paint.


My paintings are enamel applied on glass with toothpicks.I also use sponges and brushes.A curved scalpel is used to shape and detail the Testors model car paint. I use images from many sources to create a collage. When I begin a painting, I have no fixed idea what the finished project will become. It takes many months to complete a painting because I am in no hurry.Often, events lead to an unexpected change in direction and results in an image that reflects a truth I had not previously considered. This method is simple, inexpensive, and can be done by anyone.
1- Buy a picture frame with glass(not plastic)8"x10" or 11"x14"
2- Several bottles of Testor's model enamel paint. Various colors and an extra bottle of white will allow you to mix any color you wish.
3- A box of toothpicks (square with round points seem to work best. Also Q-tips with paper shafts.(break off the cotton tips and cut with a razor to form the painting tip)
4- A single edged razor blade and a #15 scalpel(curved blade) are helpful to shape the paint after it dries and remove mistakes.
5- small brushes and a grout sponge (the sponge can be torn into small pieces as needed)
6- Find an image or photo that you wish to include in your painting. Scan the image and print it in grayscale at the appropiate size. It is also helpful to print an inverted(negative) copy. Images should be printed as a reverse image(backwards) so that the finished image will be correct.Remember, you are painting reverse images in reverse order(detail first/background later) You view the painting through the other side of the glass.
7- Bottle caps- beer bottle caps seem to work best for mixing small amounts of color. By dipping a toothpick into the bottle of paint, a few drops of paint can be placed into the bottle cap. Use only a few drops at a time. Apply very small amounts of paint at a time.Mix your colors in the caps by adding a drop at a time and stirring with a toothpick.This saves paint and cost nothing. Find a beer swilling friend and ask them to save you a cup of caps. If you choose to drink the beer yourself, wait until later to paint. Alcohol and paint do not mix well .

To begin:
place the selected image beneath the clean glass. In this method of painting, you paint the detail first and the background last. Avoid large areas of solid paint. Using a toothpick, start to paint in the detail as you look through the glass from directly above.(avoid the paralax effect) Paint small amounts and build up the image over time. Be careful to keep the glass clean(oils from fingers ect.) and allow the paint to dry before continuing.(don't smudge the wet paint) I usually begin with a few lines in the image to insure that I can align the glass and printed image beneath below. Don't try to do it all at once. As your image builds, you are free to experiment with colors and line. Rather than brush in an area with one color, stipple it lightly with a color and later with another color and then a third.(nothing in nature is one color)
Lately I have begun to use more Q-tip shafts. Cut the paper shaft at a steep angle with a razor.Dip it lightly in the bottle cap containing a few drops of paint. Gently apply the thin edge to the glass to obtain a fine line. The paper will become saturated and soft in a short time. Simply chop off some more of the shaft and begin again.
note... the paint will dry quickly in the bottle cap. When it becomes tacky it will create thin strings of paint as you dip your toothpick into the cap. These strings are a pain to scrape off. So..when the paint gets tacky, throw the cap away and use a new fast and take a break to let it dry.