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.

20151030_120212

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.

This Little Piggy…

September 13, 2012

Drawing inspiration from the child hood rhymes:
and an adorable stuffed pig with personality we have the makings of a series of fun little paintings.
This Little Piggy… 

So much potential subject matter to yield lovely simple little paintings that lend to great paint passages and expressive compositions.

This little piggy just wants to stay home and hide her head under the blankets.

This Little Piggy Stayed Home. 5×7. #2012_07_12.

Early morning light and deep shadows really helps push the composition.  The light both softens and warms up the compositional balance of negative shapes. A few more layers of paint composing the rounded feet and curly tail add just a touch of whimsy and dimension.

This Little Piggy Snuggled. 5×7 #2012_07_13

This little piggy wants to snuggle in the morning light with her favorite monkey.  Again the lighting and shadows help define the composition while a similar palette of warmer pink and cooler blue values establish the rounded forms of the plush piggy.

Five more minutes… 5×7. 2011.

Five more minutes was the first of this series.  So it is understandably a bit more simplistic.  However by changing the lighting, I ended up with a darker mood and value study.

These paintings are more color, light and compositional studies while really working through a new medium and discovering its various characteristics.   So these are just a few of a growing series of studies to work out.
I wonder what This Little Piggy shall do next?

Yesterday’s Eggs!

April 9, 2012

What does one do with all the leftover eggs after the Easter egg hunt?
Well, paint them of course.

One of the reasons kids love to decorate and dye eggs are for all the colors that can be created with just a few dyes.
Then even more fun to hide, hunt crack and eat them.

Course I like to dye and decorate them too. But it’s more fun to paint them.
So here is today’s daily fun paint adventure with our leftover eggs.

Yesterday's Eggs 5x7 #2012.04.09

Definitely challenging trying to model the elliptical egg shapes as they overlap and their local colors reflect against one another.  The glass dish added another level of interest trying to depict it’s soft curves and reflections with out over painting it.

April Flowers

April 6, 2012

Wow, the Spring flowers are so vivid this year.  Which is quite amazing since we are still suffering from a severe drought here in Texas.

But I can still appreciate the wild flowers that pop up in my own backyard.  Still no private collection of Blue bonnets but quite a lot of wild Black-eyed Susan’s this year.
So before I push on though my spring I grabbed a few to paint.  This is my result.

Black Eyed Susans_5x7_#2012.04.06.

I intentionally went for a complimentary balance of Red-orange and Blue-violet and focused on a warm light cool shadow composition.
Not so bad for a morning with laundry, dishes and a 5 year old asking where the toy of the moment is.
Back to the Mommy mode.

Hot Color Flows.

October 4, 2011

Glass Blowing!  A new love in art for me.

First Blue Glass!

I have always been drawn to admire elegant glass pieces with striking colors swirled through them.  Learning to create glass work has been on my list for quite some time now.  (Almost as long as I have been painting.)

So for my birthday this year, my sweety, found a glass blowing class for me and made the arrangements.  I got my first taste this weekend, oh boy, that’s Sweet!

setting jack line

I have learned and tried a lot of art processes besides painting.  Clay, carving, college, printmaking, drawing, embossing, fiber art, iron pour, paper making, photography, sculpting, and welding.   But few come close to eclipsing my love of color and paint.

Glass blowing is like suspending liquid color in a solid state. I could sit and stare at glass for hours watching how the colors change with the time of day.  Simply noting how the transparent layers of colors affect one another to create new patterns and movement as they swirl in the sun light.  I also find great joy when considering how to paint colored glass to capture the reflections and light changes.

WoW!  It is so cool to start with a hot 2000 degree lump of nothing and create something so simple and elegant in just in a few minutes.  Watching the glowing glass shift and form as it is rolled and manipulated int to a cylinder, bubble or form is mesmerizing.  It truly becomes a delicate dance balancing yourself the artist, glass, fire, and the forces of Earth.  (By that I mean gravity, centrifugal force, fluid dynamics, temperatures, and more.)   Or picking of broken shards recycled glass and fusing it into a glowing liquid form as it absorbs new colors.  It all about the anticipation of the way a piece will capture and reflect light tempered by wisdom and patience to let it cool.  And humbled by the natural faults and affinity of glass itself to seek its own form despite your push.

Forming the bulb.

adding color frit

forming the cylinder

opening glass

Glass blowing is not a simple process.  Respecting the medium while learning the limitations and boundaries of any medium takes decades.   One I hope I will have opportunities to explore more in the years to come.  For now I will find joy each morning as first light illuminates my first creations of liquid color.

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.