Donal Quigley is an Irish painter and decorator who has a passion for wood graining and tells us about his process and techniques for reproducing pitch pine.
Donal Quigley is a third generation painter and decorator from County Kilkenny in Ireland. His apprenticeship was served under the guidance of his father in the eighties and after completing his training, Donal founded his own decorating business in 1992.
Besides the standard painting and decorating work, Donal found himself working in more and more specialized areas such as hand painted signs, gilded hand-carved signs and sandblasted glass signs as well as different wall finishes.
In 2014, Donal studied at the SWR Decart Studio in Dublin under the tutelage of Michel Nadai, the respected French decorative painting artist.
For the past five years, Donal has found himself focusing on wall panelling systems due to their growing popularity in Ireland.
WHAT IS PITCH PINE?
Indigenous to the United States and the eastern seaboard in particular, the Pitch Pine can grow upwards of 60 feet and has a lifespan of some 200 years. A hardy species, not even fire or severe trauma can destroy it.
The reason for its centuries old popularity is due to its high resin content. Indeed, as well as being used for woodwork, the pitch pine is a source for turpentine and tar, otherwise known as pitch!
These days it has a less glamorous purpose, being used for fuel, pulping and making crates. In the past however, it was used to create anything from railroads and wooden ships to church pews, panels and flooring.
Pitch pine is not a strong wood and has a rough texture to the grain, however the high resin content leaves it resistant to decay, hence its popularity. The resinous nature of the wood has its down side however, as it makes it difficult to machine and sand.
Previously pitch pine was sought after due to the vibrant shades and figuring of the grain, however since the boom of railroads and mass planting and forced early foresting of the trees, the quality of the grain began to suffer which is why it is currently used for less elegant tasks.
As a result, the only way to obtain finer specimens is through reclamation, which means in turn that demand has outweighed supply causing a worldwide shortage and rising prices.
This has led to a resurgence in demand for painted reproductions to match already present architectural elements.
Materials and Tools
Colours Used: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber
Water Based System:
Base colour B.S. 06.C.33.
Johnstone’s pine woodstain.
Floetrol paint conditioner
Tint with powder colour.
Work into a paste and thin as required with water.
To start brush on a wash of the above and obliterate all brush marks to leave a translucent effect. Allow to dry.
- Use a S.1210L. Duck Signwriter’s brush to pencil in figure.
- Begin to form the figure.
- Join the sap and continue up.
- Main figure is now formed. It is important to soften after each line is drawn to avoid smudging into the next line.
- Now using some burlap begin to do the side grain.
- Glaze the other side.
- Then burlap to form tight side grain effect.
- Finished central panel.
- Next tape off top rail.
- Pencil in figure and soften as you go.
- Finish rail.
- Repeat process on lower rail.
- Last two styles to do. These can be plain straight grain if you prefer.
- Same process, pencil in grain and burlap side.
- And same on other side.
- Allow to dry.
- Add a thin line of colour to emphasise the joints.
- Overglaze with same colour, adding some Vandyke brown to create highlights and moirés. Then badger lightly.
- Panel overglazed.
- Finished panel varnished.
For more examples of his work and to contact Donal, please click the following Facebook link: Donal Quigley Painting and Decorating