Fresh Paint, Clean Paint!

October 30, 2015

– Realization #2

It has been most of 4 weeks since my painting trip to Dutch Mountain. The afternoon and evening sun was just as dramatic.

These days I find myself pressed to paint. I want and need to paint! Keep in mind that, I have several circuses to manage here daily, so painting is not always the priority.   Yes, I could be pressed by a deadline, but i try not to dwell on that.  I am also a bit more selective on what is the exciting prompt for choosing my next subject.  (See Reflection #1)

The key here is Clean, Fresh paint.

I am also very keen on establishing a pigment wash to establish a feel for how the painting will fit on a panel.  I start by painting the shapes and wiping out my lights in undertones of cool or warm tone sequence mixed primarily from cadmium red light and quinacridone rose.  These are somewhat transparent and allow light to reflect as warm or cool.  The undertones set the pace for my painting.  Then I gradually build into the layers of colors and values.

20151029_190131 blue and violets

The trick is to build up the colors without quickly making mud on a small 6×6 art panel.  I start by painting a thin color coat of the local colors.  For a landscape that means mixing and painting the sky first. Then I generally lay in my next layer of cooler shadows in values of blues and violet tones to establish depth and shadow forms.

Next, I check my progression and mix for the next layer of warmer lights. Color harmony is very important and adds a dynamic balance to most of my paintings.  For this painting I chose warm earth structures and cool ground shadows.  After establishing my shadow I added yellow tint to all the lights sparkling on the rocks and highlights.  I try to mix my paint values and check them as I go, before adding the next layer of light and forms.  If it doesn’t match or fit with the harmony I take off, remix and match new color.

20151030_102118 blue violet yellows

Greens are much more challenging.  I generally try to establish greenery by simply scrubbing in loose greens and lemon yellows over the blue and violet patches.  Then check for balance in contrast to finalize the atmosphere, highlights, shadows and rugged surface.  Soon after, I begin adding the last few pieces, building up to the brights and final highlights.


Clean paint is integral to all good painting. Be sure to know your color ranges and mixtures.  Clean paint is important to establishing the mood of a painting.  It is critical to preserving reflected light within the painting. Fresh clean strokes quickly establish atmosphere, depth, and volume of a painting through a tight space.

The important thing to remember is start clean, work clean, paint clean before you know it you will have beautiful color harmonies.

Five more Minutes, Pink Piggy. 5x7. 2011.08.09

Well it has been a full day here working to get back into my studio.   This morning I trekked out to a place I have been trying to get to and gather fresh reference materials for another project.   Then came home to upload & sort my images while prepping new ideas for the next few paintings. But I have managed to squeeze in a bit of paint here while the dishes waited.

It has been nearly 2 weeks  since I have cracked open my paint and worked on anything other than framing or resumes.  As with anything requiring muscle memory and strategy, the longer you are away from it the more challenging it is to get back to where you were before.   My paints were rather gummy and resistant. SO tomorrow I shall scrape my palette down and mix fresh again for more fresh painting.

Five More Minutes is a sweet little study towards an allegorical depiction of life in all it’s ironies.   You know what I’m talking about. Can’t go to bed too much to do, Need five more minutes to get moving again.  It is intentionally darker and not entirely happy pink yet.  It is after all first morning light cast on the sleeping piggy here. So I think I will completely want to sleep in much like Pink Piggy here.

It is the first of 3, I have planned, maybe more, thinking much bigger than 5″x7″ too.  But in due time.

It is the first of 3, I have planned, maybe more, thinking much bigger than 5″x7″ too.  But in due time.