Sunday, January 15, 2017

Limited palette & a swatch exercise

Lately I have been thinking a lot about painting with a limited palette, and the value of doing mixing exercises and making swatch sheets. Also, I have wanted to expand this blog from entries soley focusing on showing my own work, and more into musings on things I have learned as an artist (or are currently coming to grips with). This entry will get those balls rolling, so to speak.

Using an Amazon gift card I got for my birthday, I got Juliette Aristides' latest book Lessons in Classical Painting. It is really well done with a lot of practical information (I have spent time with her other books and they are all worth a look). It's one of those books that I wish had been around when I started painting.



On page 115, she shows a sample exercise of mixing a grid of 2 colors (a warm and a cool) into each other to create a neutral, and then tinting the results. I have been working on a few paintings lately using transparent iron oxide red and prussian blue, so I decided to try it with those 2 colors.

Upper left below you see out-of-the-tube transparent iron oxide red and upper right you see prussian blue in the same state. Along the top row are the results of mixing them together, with the top middle square being as close to a neutral as I could get. Moving down are each of those mixes with progressively more and more white added to them.


I did the 5x5 grid (the book also shows a 9x9 one) on a piece of canvas paper.


There's a lot to be learned by doing this. When mixing, right away you get a feel for the tinting strengths and transparencies of the 2 colors. Not surprisingly, iron oxide red was more transparent and has far less tinting power than prussian blue. You also learn of the possibilities available with just these 2 colors. For example, there is possible a nice neutral very much like raw umber there right down the middle. Not really good greens for foliage, but the 2nd from the right column shows some blue-greens kind of like a slightly neutralized viridian green. This combo could certainly make some nice flesh colors and browns.
Obviously, one misses a true yellow but the variety possible with just 2 colors (the "right" 2 colors) can be pretty impressive.

I have the idea to next try a 3 color matrix with the 3 colors radiating out from a center neutral area. Stay tuned.







Sunday, December 4, 2016

Middlefork Savanna plein air painting


oil on panel
16" x 16"


I did a good amount of plein air painting once my kids started school this year. This was one of the first ones, but needed that extra 10% of tweaking at home to be called "finished."

Middlefork Savanna in Lake Forest is a beautiful place, and I plan to do more painting there.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

More Plein Air acrylic efforts

I have been getting out at least once a week for some painting this fall.
These 2 are both acrylic works, the top one from Skokie Lagoons and the bottom from Emily Oaks Nature Center.



acrylic on 9" x 12"  board




acrylic on 10" x 10" board

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2 Plein Air acrylic paintings



I have been trying acrylic paint for plein air work lately. (I briefly used acrylics when I started painting 4-5 years ago, but quickly moved to oils.) The advantage for plein air work is the quick drying time means you can go over an area without worry about disturbing the pervious layer and getting inadvertent mixes. I think my recent work with gouache has prepped me for acrylics, as they are similar (gouache= matte finish, acrylics=glossy finish)

(These are both 9x12 on MDF board)



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Final 2 from Oregon

I posted one drawing from our Oregon trip in June.
Here are 2 more:



Walking up the hill ("mountain" to us flatlanders) my sister lives on to draw/paint, I found this dead animal head in the road. Who could resist?
markers and gouache




Heceta Head
pencil on toned paper

Friday, July 29, 2016

Ohio River, Kentucky Shore


oil on illustration board
7" x 2 1/4"


I try to make use of everything in terms of art materials, and have scraps of all kinds of surfaces around. This very small remnant of illustration board was used to paint from a photo I took of the Ohio River Kentucky shore across from Cave-In-Rock, Illinois.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lincoln Park Zoo visit

I went to Lincoln Park Zoo recently to sketch. (Color on some of these was added at home.)

(various combinations of pencil, ink, watercolor and gouache.)



Stork standing over the nest










Kenya Crested Guineafowl