July 4, 2011

Ok, World.

I know you are waiting to see the next painting here, but my efforts have been divided the past few days between the cyber world, learning new programs, and striking out with mud pie paintings that are making me see double. Some times, literally.  I am updating my computer skills with a few necessary software programs.  But they are of course some what tedious in figuring out on my own.

As for the mud pie paintings… sometimes the right side of the brain just don’t talk to the left side that is responsible for mixing the correct value and translating the right shape.  Some times you have to take a time out.  No, I don’t like my own painters advice.  I need to do. I need to push back on the painting to get it right.  But that’s not always the right solution.

I plan to step back this week and go for a few more playful prospects, that is If I can get my toys subjects back from my son.

So this past week I have managed to get Esty set up for everyone wanting grab that little gem of a painting for their growing art collections.  I will also be adding direct links for each painting posted to my blog and many from my website. So take a moment and visit my shop!

AlexisMcCarthyArt Shop

Subject suggestions are always welcome. 🙂

Undo, Unpaint.

July 1, 2011

Well, world some days are just not paint days no matter how much paint you might mix on the palette.

All one’s efforts appear to dissolve the longer you “try to Fix It”.  Not to mention the growing quagmire of dirty paint and paint rags.  Best efforts generally start with a solid thumbnail . <check> Decide color scheme to establish a clear direction for any new paintings. <um, uncheck>.


Warm light, Cool shadows.  Nope.  Perhaps reverse it cool light, warm shadows. Nope.  Adjust mixtures?  More complements = more interesting grays usually does the trick quite nicely.  Ah, no. Not that either.  Lighter softer background to diffuse the light?  no. Scrape again, readjust values. Light, Shadow, form shadow, check local color,  Simplify. No, still no cup yet.

Well I was trying for painting a special cup today.  However, even the most recent adventure has resolved to be scrapped and or scraped for another try later on, alas no more paint today. I’ll admit I am one of the last artist willing to just walk away from a painting, much less a drawing quagmire without giving it a long run for resolving it.  But today has simply been a mess out there.  To gummy, thick and inconsistent paint value relations have seriously effected the ability to paint a once thought simple straight forward subject.

Ha, taunts the painting.  Come back another day, I shall still be here.  The ever constant challenging mathematical ratio of color, paint, and ratios to relate a illusion of light and shadow on canvas.

I suppose I shall go back to the machine and book to focus on learning the new and improved soft wares I have avoided for so long.  if all else There are always the chores..

Comparison Color Tests

June 20, 2011

Golden Open Acrylics: Artisan WS Oils: Traditional Oils.
Colors & ranges mixed only with primary colors and the addition of white.

This past spring I began having major health complications.  My throat was always sore and raw. My tonsils & adenoids were inflamed but had no contributing sinus drainage accompanied by regular ear and headaches.  After a battery of strep and allergy tests the doctors concluded that I was suffering from Chronic Rhinitis.  The determined that extended exposure to the medium and turp I was using.   I need to switch from the caustic oil paint solvents & turps to a less volatile paint medium that is safe for me to breath, even with significant air flow.  Breather masks have little positive effect on the denser particulates associated with paint solvents used in oil painting, it can in fact only concentrate the particulates in the filter of the breather masks.  But rather than jump ship into the blind I wanted to find a comparable safe solution to avoid any back pedaling in my paint process.  I especially wanted to maintain the integrity of my preferred paint palette as much as possible.

All paints vary in consistency, color saturation and pigment gradations.  They vary even more between different manufactures much like any other  pharmaceuticals or food products. So I determined that I needed to try a couple of different options and test them.  The tests are comparisons between 3 different paint formulas: Winsor Newton traditional oils, new Golden OPEN acrylics and new Winsor Newton water soluble oils (cleans with water) no solvents required.

Winsor Newton traditional Oils.

Winsor Newton traditional oils: color swatch gradations.

Winsor Newton Artisan water soluble Oils.  *mixed without added medium.

Artisan water soluble Oils. Color samples.

Golden Open acrylics. *mixed without added medium.

Golden Open acrylics Color samples.

The gradients help determine the pigment saturation levels for each paint sample. Some manufacturers use more binder and oils to suspend the ground pigments resulting in a weaker pigment a weeker true color.  Others add stuff and that can often yield muddy colors if you don’t know what you are working with.  Here I selected only the R Y B Primary pigments and mixed all Secondary and Neutral color mixtures + 5 gradations.

Still life comparison between Artisan Oils (left) and Open acrylics (right).

Still life: WN ws oils (left) vs Golden Open acrylics (right).

Thus, far I am really liking the results from the water soluble oils.  Still researching for any posted health effects with the new formulated oils. The Artisan water soluble oils are pigments suspended in a modified linseed oil base that became available in the past few years. They clean with soap & water rather than solvents.  They offer a rich thicker consistency even without added mediums and decent working time, but cleaner.  Plus the added benefit of painting on top of traditional oil under paintings.

The Acrylics tend to dry too fast even with the suggested extenders. The acrylics also dry thinner and still change 2 values darker after dry. So you end up with a thinner darker painting as it drys and ages.  Could work for under painting or if you really want to maintain the canvas texture in you work. But I found it more frustrating to come back to a darker paintings than I started.  Not always good when you start out in the field and return to the studio to finish a painting.

A significant part of Art is science, the other half is psychology and a bit of practiced skill. Testing is what gets consistent results. Sometimes even artists need to do diligent testing and research to determine the logistics of our preferred medium.  For my preferred style of painting, the Artisan paints offer  what I’m looking for, a thicker creamier body to the paints.  Each individual has a different need and preference, so remember to really test for effectiveness.  I have started further explorations to see if the paint holds true in value and range over the next few weeks.  All 4 paintings from this past week are ws oils.  Stay tuned for other tests and updates.