ok that is just the working title.. square canvases are challenging, this one started out as a landscape and was a bit too empty. Now it is a horse painting, going to finish this up as soon as it sets up a little- I used a combination of gamsol and linseed, very nice result. More horses but looks a little like a gathering of ATATs, doesn’t it? 36 x 36″ my sneaker in the frame gives it some scale!
Working on a few possibilities in oil using only Black, White, and Gamblin Torrit Grey. I am carving the horses out of the darkness. Those lumps on the beach may turn into dogs… or maybe a lobster, I haven’t decided.
Morning Star- Oil on Canvas 10 x 20″
Sometimes the loss is great..so is the love. Look in the top left, you will see the Morning Star. There you are. (click on the image for a bigger view)
With that, I give you the words of Tolkien, in a beautiful poem:
Day is ended, dim my eyes,
but journey long before me lies.
Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship’s beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
beyond the sunset leads my way.
Foam is salt, the wind is free;
I hear the rising of the Sea.
Farewell, friends! The sails are set,
the wind is east, the moorings fret.
Shadows long before me lie,
beneath the ever-bending sky,
but islands lie behind the Sun
that I shall raise ere all is done;
lands there are to west of West,
where night is quiet and sleep is rest.
Guided by the Lonely Star,
beyond the utmost harbour-bar,
I’ll find the heavens fair and free,
and beaches of the Starlit Sea.
Ship, my ship! I seek the West,
and fields and mountains ever blest.
Farewell to Middle-earth at last.
I see the Star above my mast!
Painting the same thing several times gives the artist a good look at all the details. Draw several sketches, then paint a small version. It sounds tedious, but I can tell you this is how I have created my best and favorite large works.
This is a 5 x 7 panel, executed quickly. The horse still dominates the scene, although his actual size on the canvas is about 2.5 “. Acrylic on panel, 5 x 7”
I was sorting paint and came to a tube that I thought was dried up –bought it that way the local art store, did not want to return it b/c hey, they are a locally owned store…next time check first! 🙂 Anyway, I had the wrong one, had a good tube instead, gave it a squeeze and out came about an inch of fine artist acrylic paint in a shade called perylene green.
I added it to a work in progress for the dark shadows in the water at the bottom of the wave- nice result! So, good to not waste the paint, even better to find a nice new pigment for ocean water.
“Tube” 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas.
If you took all the pigments in the color spectrum and mixed them together, what color would you make?
Every spring, Gamblin Paint collects a wealth of pigments from their Torrit Air Filtration system. They filter the air around the areas where workers handle dry pigments so that they are not exposed to pigment dust. Rather than sending the expensive pigments into the landfill, Gamblin paint makers recycle them into “Gamblin Torrit Grey”. The result is a little different each year, and they have a competition for artists to use Torrit Grey, black and white as the only hues. Check out the entries at Gambincolors.com, and head to Jerry’s or Dick Blick and get your own tube and enter!
One quick tip that I learned from Erik– Mix your colors using a value scale, about five shades of grey and white and black. Prepping your colors before you start painting will give you a profoundly different result than mixing as you go. My own tip- start painting with the darkest value and save the lightest for the end.
Gamine, 8 x 10 painting, oil on canvas.
Why is the sky blue? I had that question as a kid and only my Mom could give me an intelligent answer, something like this:
The blue color of the sky is due to Rayleigh scattering. As light moves through the atmosphere, most of the longer wavelengths pass straight through. Little of the red, orange and yellow light is affected by the air.
However, much of the shorter wavelength light is absorbed by the gas molecules. The absorbed blue light is then radiated in different directions. It gets scattered all around the sky. Whichever direction you look, some of this scattered blue light reaches you. Since you see the blue light from everywhere overhead, the sky looks blue.
As an artist, you must know that as you look closer to the horizon, the sky appears much paler in color. To reach you, the scattered blue light must pass through more air. Some of it gets scattered away again in other directions. Less blue light reaches your eyes. The color of the sky near the horizon appears paler or white.
Got it? Now when the next kid asks, you are ready!
I have painted the sky about every color there is, here is a sky with no blue at all. I used Azo red, Vermilion, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Red Light ( a very different color than cad red) and cadmium yellow. Then, thin streaks of white and various colors blended in for some variance. Use water or glazing medium to do this. Acrylic dries in the time it takes to run and get a drink, so the silhouetted figures can be painted on quickly. Painted for a good friend of ours, part two of this diptych next week.
Paints this week were from Lukas, who sells the paint in a squeeze bottle– excellent pigment and so inexpensive!! Also used Liquitex, great pigments as well.
This was a Quick Draw competition, in which the artists had to start with a blank canvas at 10 a.m. and finish when the horn sounded at 12 noon. That is 120 minutes to sketch, underpaint and finish off a painting. The time goes FAST and I am a fast painter to begin with! The finished paintings looked vibrant and exciting with a couple of dings, scratches and mistakes that only made them more interesting. Selecting a view was the hard part- had to be complex enough to be interesting, but not so complicated that I could not finish it. I selected a row of houses for the color, perspective and the very prominent American Flag.
A couple of notes:
– I had 120 minutes and used at least 30 on the charcoal sketch. This made a much better painting than I could have done otherwise. So begin with the end in mind- the drawing is the bones of the painting and we all want to have good bones!
– Use true, not local color. I used Gamblin’s Portland Greys for the sky as it was very overcast, I saw more than one finished painting with a bright blue sky- not a criticism, but a different choice than I made. There were very few sharp shadows which made for a more serene mood.
– I left out some details because there just wasn’t enough time to get them all in. You know you are looking at the American Flag whether or not there are detailed stars on it.
– You may want to pack a ruler!! Even in nature you may need to make a straight line here or there.
– Take some breaks and step back about 10 feet and take a good look. The parts that need work will jump out at you
– Prepare to do a lot of talking. Or listening. Many people will want to discuss what you are doing and that is part of the experience.
– Some fantastic colors for landscapes: chrome oxide green (instead of pthalo), cadmium red light, ultramarine (has replaced cerulean in most of my outside stuff), Portland Grey Light, Portland Grey Medium, Dioxy Purple (don’t make yourself crazy trying to mix red and blue!) and Windsor Lemon. The bricks are a grayed down Alizarin with a little white- a mixing accident that nailed the color!
– The whole Quick Draw experience was a lot like running a 10K- you may not be the best person out there, but you will get to finish and have your moment of triumph, large or small. Pause and appreciate this!
– Have a price in your head in case someone wants to buy your masterpiece and you want to sell it- this painting went home with an art lover, which was fine with me.
Lined up easels at the finish line: