Artist Spotlight- Artist Eric Armusik
Article: Artist Eric Armusik – Artist Spotlight
Helen and Paris, oil on birch, 48 x 60” 2016
(Painted in 13 days – 178 hours in preparation for this year’s Art Renewal Center International Salon)
Charvin Extra Fine Oils
Black Swan Creative Mark Filberts, Rounds and Flats
First, let me say what an honor it has been working with the staff at Jerry’s Artarama – I was so excited to be asked to demo some of their awesome products. I’ve been an avid customer of Jerry’s since a fellow artist gave me one of their catalogs when I was attending college in the early 1990s (back when you had to use the phone to order). Even back then, their selection was expansive and extremely affordable compared to local art stores. Today, I’m very honored to be a part of their Artist Spotlight program and look forward to relating my experiences.
For this spotlight I was provided with an assorted set of 20 ml Charvin Extra Fine Oils. In my 23 years of painting I’ve primarily used Winsor Newton oils because I like oils that have a more buttery and dense consistency. I’ve worked with many different brands over the years but until now, I haven’t had the pleasure of using Charvin paints. What I experienced was a quality and versatile product that exceeded my expectations.
Their pigments are rich and afforded me the ability to paint with rich saturated tones, as seen in the elaborate blue sofa that I painted with tones of their Cyan Phtalo and the royal dress on Helen where I used some of their Purple Madder Lake and French Ultramarine Blue.
I was able to contrast the rich tones in this painting with a very nice selections of earthy tones like their Burnt Umber, which is a little more neutral and lighter than other Burnt Umbers I’ve used, and their yellow ochre and Titanium Zinc White which is more warm an opaque than your typical Titanium White.
I’ve heard people comment about the thickness of Charvin paints before which had me concerned because I like to paint in thin layers on an extra smooth surface. In using these paints with a nice medium, (I like to use Winsor Newton’s Fine Detail), I really loved their versatility and opacity. In recent years, I’ve relied more on Titanium White when painting flesh tones but it was a nice change to use a white that was more transparent – it allowed me to work gradually when it came to very subtle flesh tones. Overall, I was very pleased with the product and the different solutions it offered me with this ambitious painting.
My experiences with the Black Swan line of paint brushes was an equally positive experience. Since I do not paint on a textured surface I like a brush that is soft and has the right amount of control. These brushes have the right amount of balance and easily parallels any red sable brushes I’ve used. I worked them pretty hard for 13 long days painting Helen and Paris and they held up very well. There were days I painted 20 hours at a time and as long as I cleaned them every few hours and removed any medium from them, they kept their softness and shape.
I usually begin each painting with a rough grisaille. For this particular painting I worked on a neutral gray gessoed background with a thin mixture of Burnt Umber and a little French Ultramarine Blue. Once I get the proportions worked out I’ll also rough in the skin tones with combinations of Yellow Ochre, French Red Light and the Titanium Zinc White.
Day 3: For my second pass I like to build up a more substantial modeling of skin tones especially in the highlight areas. Cooler and darker areas may only require 2-3 layers where highlight areas and the face may take several more passes. This is where I started working up the ornate sofa with layers of the Cyan Phtalo Blue. Since the color is more transparent it took a few more layers to work up to the opacity and range of tones that I desired.
Day 7: Here’s a short video working on the left knee of Paris. The opacity of the Titanium Zinc White allows for gradual buildup. This was especially nice when painting white fabric and for skin tones.
Day 10: I finished all the fabric on the sofa using Cyan Phtalo Blue and glazing over it with thin layers of French Ultramarine Blue. I greatly appreciated how easy it was to paint the earthly floor with their Burnt Umber and French Ultramarine Blue. At this point I was severely exhausted and wondering if I would have enough time to finish this for the ARC competition.
Using Yellow Ochre, Titanium Zinc White, Burnt Umber and French Ultramarine Blue I painted all of the curtains in. As seen on this short video, I later glazed some of the dark areas back using French Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber along with some medium.
Day 13: The last 24 hours were the hardest trying to paint in the Trojan horse, the features of Paris, his hands, jewelry on Helen and all the fine details one would expect. The painting was finally finished at 1:30AM. I painted over 100 hours in just the last week and was extremely exhausted yet elated with what I had accomplished. I had exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes to take photos and submit the painting for the Art Renewal Center Salon. Fortunately, I got it in on time.
Many of the jewelry pieces were being research as the painting was going on so they were painted on the last two days. Combinations of Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, French Ultramarine blue and Lemon Intense Yellow and Titanium Zinc White (for the highlights) were used to paint them in.
You can see where some of the Lemon Intense Yellow and Titanium Zinc White highlights help to balance the gold look of Helen’s crown. I especially enjoyed how thick Charvin Extra Fine Oils were for areas like this where thickness and opacity helped to balance the different textures of the painting.
Eric Armusik, (b. 1973) paints classical figurative art that fuses his life experiences with art history. His paintings are a declaration to the dramatic power of representational art. The origin of his inspiration does not lie in academia, but rather his childhood, surrounded by the vivid paintings he saw in Gothic cathedrals as a child.
Eric doesn’t aspire to simply paint a figure; he paints a moment, a human experience, and an emotional dialogue that transcends culture, religion and time itself. He’s been known to push his models until he gets the precise expression or gesture that best represents the moment.
To him, painting a figure is easy but painting human emotion is tedious and taxing and to Eric, that is where his heart is. He thrives on being able to tell a story – to visually express the pain or ecstasy of two lovers or the madness of a villain.
All of Armusik’s painting are on large wood panels he builds, primes and sands to an extra smooth finish for fine detail work.
He uses the finest quality paints and mediums to create museum quality work in the manner of the old masters. He is also a gifted carpenter and choses to custom build all his tabernacle frames to give his work a timeless and elegant appearance.
Eric’s paintings can be seen on the web at: