(not) About

Man? Woman? Were you hoping to find the definitive answer from me? Sorry, but I’ll have to disappoint you right now as in bed with Mona Lisa is NOT at all about the sex of La Gioconda! Also I believe some secrets should remain… just so!

Mona (in the frame) and Ken Johnson (the artist of this painting) agree with me that masks are sometimes necessary!

What this blog is about though, is the little secrets of the visual art world: art materials… how they are made, what goes into them; the good brands (I’ll forget about the others) and the passionate men and women behind those labels; common tricks / musts on how materials can be best used alongside, I’m hoping, some trade secrets directly from artists interviewed on their tools and practices.

I personally have found many of these infos hard to find, scattered, old books not thorough enough on newer products (even acrylics) or often —on the net especially— issued by the brands and, so, more commercial than genuine. I’m simply sharing what I’ve researched, nothing here is invented… I’m happy to acknowledge my sources (please go to Honoring my sources) and if these were wrong or if I’ve misunderstood something, I’m to blame but am more than happy to be challenged by you and to correct the posts… that’s the beauty of this form of communication I find –vs a lovely book which might date fast and spread misinformation for years– and why I’ve chosen this form.

If you want to know more about me and why I’ve launched into this adventure, please go to in bed with… myself.  Hope you enjoy reading as much as I’ve had fun writing!


PS It’s a long term voyage I’m undertaking here and so, behind a lot of the pages, there’s still little or nothing (I have a shop and a family and DO try to paint on Sunday afternoons after cleaning the house!!) but, trust me… it’s coming!

PPS Also, and hopefully it’s obvious when you’ve read a few pages and posts but I need to write this somewhere, so there goes…. THIS BLOG IS NOT ABOUT SELLING YOU ANYTHING! It’s about sharing, building community and supporting the guys that are doing a great creative job inventing fab new tools for all of us to have even more FUN!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Shelley says:

    You blog is amazing I’m glad I found it.

  2. Hi Sabine, I love your posts! I just printed out your oil sticks page for a friend to whom I gave a number of good oil sticks as a gift. I still think your page is the best of the best on the subject.

    I really look forward to your pencils and crayons page when you find the time to write it. Not because I need the information. I am experienced enough with pencils. But I would love to hear what you have to say about them and “compare notes” so to speak…It would be fascinating to read what your experience has been and to learn your opinions are on these materials.

    After years of “settling” for Prismacolor colored pencils for my drawings, I finally let myself indulge in a limited number of Caran D’ache Luminance colors and I have fallen in love. I never thought that pencils that cost nearly $5 each would feel worth it. However, my answer to anyone who asks me now is, Yes, indeed, yes! (I treat these like gold, naturally, only hand sharpening each one, and very very carefully.)

    The gouache page was terrifically informative and interesting as well.

    Thank you again for a marvelous blog. Keep up the wonderful work.


    Pam Wagner

  3. Jimmy murray says:

    Stumbled upon this (i live in iowa) just intrigueing ! All the tidbits are things i bemuse inthis pigment soaked mundo/ seems like u would b the person who would talk about how the chinese via ingredients or temperature got their famous oxblood glaze …or write about that iowa/georgia painter dodds? Who ground his own pigments! Very enjoyable informative info nuggets on artist pigments/places of making/ materials!! Auguri!!!

    1. THanks Jimmy… in fact I had no idea until you asked how the oxblood glazes were obtained (an entire other world that one!) but a little search brought up this funny story… just sharing!

      “Legend has it that red copper glazes were discovered accidentally during the Song dynasty of China, when a potter did not notice a family of mice had crawled into his kiln and settled around one of his pots. When the potter opened his kiln, he found that one pot was a brilliant crimson color, rather than the usual green. He sent the pot to the Emperor, who immediately demanded a thousand more. Not knowing what he had done the first time, the potter tried and failed over and over again to reproduce the crimson pot until, in his despair, he threw himself into the burning kiln. Every pot in that firing was a beautiful deep red.

      Although we appreciate a kiln full of gorgeous red pots, but we prefer electricity to human sacrifice. That’s why Coyote Clay is introducing a new line of electric-firing Copper Red Glazes, including Snowy Plum and Oxblood. By including a local reduction agent, we have created a line of copper glazes that reduce red in normal electric firing!” from The Ceramic Shop

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