The quality of an artist's work is of course somewhat subject to opinion. Does it move or strike you when you view it? Does it "speak to you?"
That is not the "quality" I would like to consider here. If you're visiting this page, I hope it's because my work has sparked some interest in you. That said, I'd like to share with you a little background on the quality of work and materials that go into each piece.
The products an artist chooses to use tells a lot about how serious he takes his work. I've witnessed good artists, who end with a beautiful, aesthetically pleasing piece, but start with cheap, inappropriate products. I've seen acrylic artists begin with plaster which they then paint over, giving the illusion of thick layers of paint. The problem with this type of technique is that the products being used were never intended for fine art. When an artist "cuts corners" by using products straight from the hardware store, they are forgetting, or out right ignoring, the importance of preservation and durability. Not that every item in the hardware store is forbidden, but honesty, integrity, and common sense should always prevail!
As for me, I generally work in one of two mediums: acrylic or encaustic....
I start with quality canvas primed with Golden gesso. I use Golden products, regarded as one of the best in the industry. From gels, to acrylic paint, Golden is always my first choice! When I'm finished painting, each work gets an "isolation coat" which protects the piece from fading, and shields the paint from the final layer of varnish, which further protects from dust and deterioration. I've seen works in highly regarded galleries selling for thousands of dollars, which have no isolation coat, and no varnish. The painting is simply left to the elements, and will fade and/or break down with time.
For more information regarding isolation coat and/or varnish click here.
Encaustic is wax based paint composed of beeswax, resin, and pigment. It is hard to go wrong with encaustic paint, because the beeswax naturally protects the painting from the usual concerns: light and moisture. Simply put, wax is it's own varnish!
However, I've found that R&F Handmade Paints, and Jacquard Encaustic Medium are two of the best products available to encaustic artists, and this is usually where I start. On occasion, for a variety of color, I will also use Encausticos Wax Medium which renders excellent results.
While the wax itself is extremely durable (the oldest surviving encaustic paintings date from the Romano-Egyptian Fayum mummy portraits from the 1st Century B.C.), one must know how to apply the medium. Each layer must be "fused" to the previous one. As I paint with encaustic wax, I heat each additional layer to the perfect temperature, allowing this fusing process to ensure the layers hold together as one. A laborious, time consuming practice, this is necessary to guarantee the stability of the piece.
For more information regarding the history of encaustics click here.
For more information regarding encaustic products click here.
As always, THANK YOU for your interest in my work! If you have further questions regarding quality, I'd be glad to discuss details, down to every product I use.