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.

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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.

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A Retreat on Painting!

October 11, 2015

After spending very little of my summer painting I was beginning to feel the frustration of bottled paintings.  I was definitely looking forward to some much-needed focused down time just for painting.

Last weekend I was able to take a much-needed Retreat on Painting.

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North view from Dutch Mountain, Llano County.

Several of my Plein Air Austin buddies booked the remote ranch on Dutch Mountain in Llano county for a weekend of painting.   We eagerly ventured out of cellular reception and drove into the remote dirt roads of Llano county.   A 3 day weekend of Glamping (camping in a remote area with a glorious hot shower and full kitchen!) and painting – Plein Air style. No internet, no painting quotas, just take it in, and paint what you find.  Look, relax, recharge, Paint, recharge, Paint…It was fantastic.

North view from Dutch Mountain, Llano Cnty.

Each morning I found my self awestruck and giggling with the joy of simply watching an unobstructed view of the sun rise across granite basalts and open scrub brush and paint the sky in new tones of pinks and blues every few minutes!  Then watching as hushed deer calmly walked across the grounds.  And the views were simply amazing!

Then we would grab our breakfast and coffee before packing up and driving out into the mesquite brush and harsh granite rock hills.   The 5 mph drive trough Sandy Creek and UP to high point was a feat all its own, to which I was amazed I managed it so many times.

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But it was so totally worth it to park at the top and look across the miles to watch people the size of ants pop up on top of Enchanted rock as we painted the morning lights and shadows.

AlexisMcCarthyArt Ampersand panels

Amongst all the excitement and giggles I did actually manage to paint a few the first day and a fourth on the last day.  To which I must say I am rather pleased and even some what enchanted with them as well.  I can admit I do  a little happy dance inside every time I see these paintings on my shelf.  My only regret was not remembering to bring my 35mm camera and zoom lens for better pictures.  But I was not disappointed by the 12 megapixel camera my phone had to offer.
But I had gone there to paint and paint I did.  Now I can’t wait for the next paint out!