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Paintings on cotton or linen absorbent canvas
by Soshana,

published in: Leonardo ,Vol. 04, England 1971

I am an expressionist painter. I began with figurative subject matter but later turned to non-figurative or abstract subjects. My trip to China in 1957 left a lasting influence on my work. In China, many artists still apply to rice paper traditional ink and water-colours made from minerals.

I was struck by the fact that sometimes more than one artist makes a painting - the first may be expert in painting birds, the second trees and the third flowers. I was taught the traditional Chinese painting technique on rice paper by an artist in Hangchow. When I returned to Paris I tried applying oils with a palette knife on canvas in a similar way and I continue to use this technique.

When I met Pinot Gallizio in 1959, we decided to make a series of paintings by working together on the same canvas. We prepared the ground of a canvas with the yolk of eggs mixed with Vinavil, a latex of vinyl resin produced by the Montecatini Company of Milan, Italy.

Since the Vinavil dries to colourless film, we gave it colour by adding powdered pigments. We prepared some raw linen canvases with a mat white acrylic paint called Valnyl, produced by the Valentine Co. in France, and, after the surface was dry, applied the Vinavil. Edouard Adam, an expert on paints, assisted us in the choice of plastic products [1].

On other canvases, we simply applied bleached linseed oil and oil paint with a rag. To some I added paint with a palette knife. The final step was to throw turpentine on the prepared canvas. The accidental effects produced [2] were interesting, although a number of viewers did not find them to their liking.

The various techniques and media we tried changed my way of working to the one I now use. I especially take advantage of the texture provided by different kinds of canvas, for example, that made of absorbent Mexican cotton or that of very absorbent German linen produced by the Schminke Company in Düsseldorf.

I cover a primed canvas with linseed oil, apply oil paints with a palette knife and then throw turpentine on the surface to obtain. (...)

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