Sunday, November 23, 2014

an AZURED day in tom irizarry studio

Productive day in the studio. It all began with work on the blue sky in a painting.
Most of my clouds are made from azurite, a  mineral found in various areas world-wide.
I processed the making of azurite from the Congo - a gorgeous shade of deep blue with green as well as processing of a crystal stone from China which was more blue and  saturated in color.

Here is a rare example of a dazzling azurite crystal from Mexico. Stones like this are very easy to crush and make into beautiful pure blue pigment. However a specimen of this quality should be preserved,  since  it is an excellent example of pure azurite crystal formation (with exception of tiny spot of malachite). Here is the stone I am talking about (it's only 100g):

azurite crystal 100g from Mexico

Even crystal stones must be washed and purified. Here is the green blue that I washed out the purer blue pigment bowl:

let them be left
oil on canvas   18 x 22 inches  2014

Finally here is the painting, I added the azurite sky to:

Monday, November 17, 2014


I  have been working with a pigment called brazil. It comes from the wood of the brazil tree in the country of Brazil. Mixed with tempera, it yields a weird pulpy substance, a red that ranges from blue red to yellow red depending on the mordant. The dye is extracted from the wood pulp with lye. It is then precipitated with  alum to give it body, and becomes a lake. This is more like a strange pulpy lake requiring quite a bit of medium as the material seemingly expands when wet. It is also called Natural Red 24. Brazil was used in the Middle Ages in european art.

The shades of red are incredibly delicate and nuanced. It reminds me of an ethereal colorant like canthaxathin that is extracted from flamingo feathers and seashells... like a french vermillion made rosy. I wanted to capture a specific glowing light using brazil, because it's soft saturated tones capture most closely the light at dawn. The very first light of day must be a color that is warm, like home, and the heart, yet radiant beyond imagining, as it gives birth to the day.

morning's minion  14 x 18 inches oil on canvas

Sunday, November 9, 2014


An ongoing and endless upheaval of my studio took place the last few years.
The new studio is now accomplished and I can pour all the intensity into my work!

Here is a brief description of what I do:

Tom Irizarry is an historic method-oil painter, meaning he uses materials and methods that were in use prior to the Industrial Revolution, and before the creation of modern colors.

An unusually beautiful palette - historic colors consist of pigments used in 14th - 19th century European painting. Colors are made from raw materials and minerals incorporating techniques based on more than 35 years painting.

It is very rare indeed to find an artist who has an understanding of and uses methods and techniques from the 16th century. The work of art increases in intensity or vibration, and communicates on more than one level.

Elements of the earth - air and land, combine with various shapes and types of light. I aim to capture a visual and interior experience of dusk or dawn of a particular kind of light as something very intimate and personal.

Paintings vary from 9 x 12 inches on panel (large inventory) to 6 x 8 feet on canvas. Viewers describe a profound feeling from the paintings, regardless of the size. I receive many comments about the unusual colors, and feelings viewers experience when looking at a painting.

Venetian method, pigment preparation, resin mediums, essential oil varnishes, oils, lakes, tempera, mineral pigments.

Delicate Breathing  oil on canvas 14 x 18 x 1.5 inches   2014

Landscape and Inscape   oil on canvas 22 x 26 inches

Golden Echo    oil on canvas   4 x 38 x 2 inches