As a group it seems that artists obsess about little things that most of the world doesn’t know exist, and probably doesn’t even care about. Maybe it’s the nature of artists in general, or maybe it’s simply the natural state of any group of professionals who get together. Perhaps there’s a professional plumbers blog out there where they discuss using one version of plumber’s putty over another, who knows?
We painters like to weigh the benefits or drawbacks of using highly chromatic colors like cadmium red, or yellow, versus using colors that have more in common with clay, or dirt such as yellow ocher, or green earth. Then we will debate whether a famous artist from the past used those colors or not, and how he mixed them if he did use them.
After that the conversation might turn to grounds and supports. Is hardboard or canvas a better choice to paint on? Will the ground help the paint to last, or will it lead to cracking? Is the ground oil or water based?
What about varnish? Do you varnish your painting, and if you do, do you prefer the finish to be shiny or matte?
And of course the list goes on.
I wonder sometimes if the art buying public know about these conversations?
If a painting takes one hour or forty of actual painting time, do collectors know that the artist might have spent ten times that amount of time researching to get the best information they can find to create the best artwork they can?
Do they understand that a painting is not just some spots of paint placed on a support, but a highly complex object that has been obsessed about for hours before the idea of what to paint even entered the artist’s mind?
Maybe it’s the mystery of painting that keeps people from asking.
And if it is I’m fine with that.