John Whittingham

Original Oil & Acrylic Paintings

Figures & Portraits

Life is short,

[the] art long,

opportunity fleeting,

experiment dangerous,

judgment difficult.


- Hippocrates  c.350  BCE



  •  images of paintings

 Whittiingham Paintings

       (my other website under construction)

  •  a small window into the studio process
  • articles on painting
  • related innovations


Brush count as of June 8, 2019 :      442


Different types of brushes are optimum for specific jobs.  It is better to use only the best that you have for each category,  Throw out the rest, regardless of cost.  My retained brushes are in excellent condition and are kept very clean even though some go back 40 years.  Acquisition, evaluate, maintain, destroy, repeat.


Currently organized from Left to Right in the above photo, there are now eight jars that hold art brushes in the upstair's studio. Single or 2nd entry is Country of Manufacture.


1. Soft Hair: mongoose /sable, Da Vinci Grigio (Deutschland), WN Monarch (England), Princeton 6600 & 7400 (USA/PRC), Delta Red Sable (USA), Grumbacher 874 Sabeline (Ireland), Ardco Ox Hair (Japan)

2. WN Lexington, Princeton Catalyst (USA/PRC)

3. Princeton Aspen (USA/PRC), Connoisseur Pure Synthetic (Japan), Rosemary & Co (UK) and Holbein Rockcliffe (Japan/India)

4. Synthetic, small sizes, WN Artisan, Princeton 6300 (USA/PRC),  Stevenson A-130 (Canada/England), Stevenson Elite Manet (Canada/France), Artist's Loft Firenze, WN Galleria (England), Heinz Jordan Aquatec (Canada/Japan), da Vinci Impasto (Deutschland), Titanium and Zen

5. Synthetic, medium to large sizes.  Brands as above plus Dynasty Blue Ice (Thailand)

6. Hog, small sizes, Connoisseur 236 (Japan), Grumbacher Gainsborough, Robert Simmons Signet, da Vinci Maestro 2, Simply Simmons, Silver Grand Prix, Princeton 5400 (India), Colours Classic 406 (Sri Lanka or India), Arttec Bristle Supreme. Delta Van Gogh (USA), etc.

7. Hog, mid sizes, Manufacturers as above and Princeton 5800 (Sri Lanka), Grumbacher Edgar Degas, Artist's Loft Marseille (mop)

8. Hog, large sizes, Q series 9 (India), Q series 26 (India), Q series 27 (India), Eterna/Grumbacher 579 (USA/PRC), Grumbacher 4230, Stevenson B-230 (Canada/England)


Below are the brushes that I got rid off during the 2017 year-end inventory and culling operation.  Apparently, I have to love each brush in order to keep it.

Rolls of unprimed canvas
Construction of large canvas stretcher frame
Set-up for gluing corner on mid to large stretcher.
Priming applied after soaking canvas with hot water. Protective glasses worn in event of stretcher frame violently splintering. Borrow neighbour's kid to trampoline-test strength of constructed canvas before attempting to prime.
Home-made collapsible easel constructed with white pine.
Second floor studio - 4 easels and a rolling tabouret
Taped down paper palette (wax coated)
Studio easel in horizontal position


Various studio related equipment and construction.


Detail note on second floor studio.

Currently at five easels.   All have soft rubber wheels to operate over a wooden floor. You can also see the installation of a mini-winch on the back of the treacherously slippery eucalyptus easel. Other customizations are found in the article, Easel Modifications on the second website.  There are two more easels in the basement including a third winch system on a heavy oak dual mast easel. 


The 2nd floor studio also has a homemade travelling tabouret which sits in the foreground.  It includes drawers, a sealed stainless steel container filled with low odour solvent for brush cleaning and 3 or more layers of paper towel for wiping paint from my active brushes.   Once the paper towels are used, they are  contained in a plastic grocery bag and sent  outdoors.


Detail note photo: Spring 2016

Other photos:  2016 and 2017

Evil Genius.Pictures

Making Changes to a New Easel

After my wife's objections died down, I acquired my sixth studio easel. It is a Richeson Dulce (Italian for dum ass) pine easel. 


I actually wanted the minty beechwood one from Curry's in southern Ontario. It has a ratchet system, however the store people wouldn't know for another 4-6 weeks whether they would be restocking that model.  So I bought the one in the adjacent picture from Delta Art & Drafting Supplies in Edmonton, Alberta. It is made with interlocking sections of pine or a kind of wood that the Brazilians call 'pine'.  It seems harder than white pine.


There are a few modifications which I make to most of my easels, the need for which should serve as a warning about easel design flaws in general.  Most easels have a base that allows for wheels (castors or casters -Am.) to be mounted with truss head screws. I have wood floors, so off I go to Ikea's Home Organization Dept. for a set of four soft castors $12 CAD.  They don't need to lock, but they should have urethane or thermal setting plastic wheel edges that do not scratch wood floors.


Why So Many Easels?

I have too many unfinished paintings.  A situation which I hope to change by keeping the canvases viewable on the easels.



All six H-framed Studio easels are on wheels.  My home modified set of wood drawers which passes for a rolling tabouret is also on wheels.  This makes everything instantly mobile.



Three of the studio easels now have hand winches.  Recently I added one to a heavy beechwood easel as it was impossible before to raise and lower it while a large canvas was mounted.


Inadequate Knobs and Bumpers

Often the supplied knobs are too small with cutting edges; I replace the important ones.  Bumpers with a good grip are not only added to the lower shelf/box and upper clamp but also to the front of the base in order to stand a folded easel safely on a wood floor.


The modifications listed here (and others) make the easels more useable, secure in holding large canvases, render them mobile and  generally create a better piece of equipment. studio furniture.

Changes made to my new H Frame Easel

  • Soft castors for mobility and protection of wood flooring.
  • Semi-gloss water based urethane varnish coating to facilitate cleaning and deter warping.
  • Strengthen counter torque on carriage bolts. Pine wood too soft so I epoxied the bolt heads.
  • Add wood lip to mast's upper clamp so canvases cannot fall out.
  • High friction surface added between the box and the mast to keep it from sliding down.   (Designs vary but this one relies on friction against the front side of the central mast)
  • Eight soft rubber bumpers: four on top of lower box/shelf, two on upper clamp, and two on front of the base to allow the folded easel to stand on the floor in an upright position.
  • Knobs were good and did not have to be replaced on this model.
  • Later, I also had to reinforce the upper clamp with thin, high density Baltic plywood. The clamp's pine wood was prone to splitting and I had to glue it back together.  This was more of a repair but the addition of the dense plywood resulted in a significant increase in strength.

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