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.
Once at a museum, I watched visitors looking at an abstract painting. They turned their heads left right, then tried to look at the painting upside down. Abstract art is like that- I know there was a huge debate after Morris Louis died, in displaying his work, which side was the top. The below painting seems obvious, but I rotated the image and you know what? I like it in any direction! “Mary Jane” 11 x 14, Oil on heavy paper.
I had a great teacher, Maria, who told us sometimes when things aren’t working out, turn the painting to the wall and do something else. Sometimes that’s the best thing you can do. I parked this one for over a year:
There was something about it, muddy, blah, not very interesting,
A few days ago I tried a few things- brightened the sky, warmed up the grey in the skintones, added detail and highlights and a little work on the background, and got this:
Much happier with this one! I used Gamblin Torrit Grey, Chromatic black and titanium white. Oil on canvas, 16 x 20″.
This painting was sold last week- to a collector near Osaka Japan! Arigato Gozimasu!
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.
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:
So is a mood in a painting a good thing or a bad thing? Where is the line between mysterious and creepy? I think I found it here. The figures in this graphite work are life size, it started as a triple self portrait and took on a live (or lives) of its own. Don’t fear the mood, if you can create one, that’s a good thing. If it’s too disturbing, put it away, you will encounter it again when you are ready. 42″ x 65″, graphite, charcoal and chalk on 180lb watercolor paper.