Compare this shot to the one above.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Painting over scraped back paintings made me so impatient yesterday that I decided to go for a complete process (small) painting. So I put together my super lightweight painting gear. The painting was to be a simulated plein air out my studio window. I can't take the cold yet even though I want to get to the interesting patterns.
My Subject, Sketchbook Ready
The Light Weight Gear
In my condition I need a lightweight arrangement. So here it is as it has evolved over the past two weeks. Light weight TravelMate Pochade Box (from GoodOmen - less than 2 pounds), 8x10 panels with coloured ground (Ultramarine Blue plus Red Oxide - one warm grey, one cool grey), 5 tubes paint (Titanium White by Michael Harding, Permanent Alizarin by Gamblin, Permanent Orange by KAMA, Cad Yellow Light by Rembrandt, Ultramarine Blue by Blue Ridge). The Ultramarine Blue and Permanent Orange are near complements, so good greys easy to get. Brushes and Palette Knife, Turps cups, Mineral Spirits, Sketch Book and Pencil, Paper Towels. This is what I would travel with. Paint off my lap. On a local plein air day I would also carry a box of paints, brush cleaner pot, tripod, and a variety of panels.
So first a thumbnail. Not required on my previous paint overs. Almost forgot about it. I do my composition work, value study, and colour notation on this. Note the eye line.
Then to choose a panel.
With Value Scale
I thought I would use the warm semi neutral panel. You can see that it is quite dark compared to the white. Using this value scale and squinting I can tell that the panel is about value 5. During painting the mid value already on the panel will act as the mid tones as I establish the darks, then the lights. This will save me time. I will only spend a maximum of an hour and a half from setup to clean up. By then the light will change too much.
Even at this stage the coloured ground is acting as the mid tones. Oh! And I had to establish the eye line in order to get the perspective. Here the eye line is between the peaks of the two roof lines. The bottom roof will display some perspective lines and colour masses.
First Pass Colours
At this stage I began sweating profusely. In my current condition the energy required by the brain was very evident. Had to sit it out for a short break. I can see drawing errors. Didn't have to concern myself with that when overpainting scraped back paintings. My hand sure is not steady these days. Practice, practice.
Leave it now. Time to clean up. Total time an hour twenty minutes. Gotta have a nap. I could go back into this and make modifications. Better still another study with the new light condition. Camera does a poor job of the colours. Oh well.
Compare this shot to the one above.
Compare this shot to the one above.
Better but no cigar. Koop from Studio 1, 10 to 11:30 am
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
I have been playing with paint over the last two weeks. Still have not tackled a painting from concept to finished product. Senses are still blunt and my strength is only up to a total of about two hours in the studio. But I'm getting tired of just playing around getting the feel of things and recalling things I didn't know had faded from my mind.
So today I'm adding round brushes and green to the mix as I paint on yet another scraped back painting "Ken's Corner".
2 Greens, Greys, the Rest of the Palette
I left the Orange Fonce out with the primaries and added two greens. The greys from the last session are on the bottom of the palette. I find these most helpful as a time saver. Greys or semi neutrals are central to landscape painting. The two greens added are Pthalo Green, yellow shade and blue shade. In the past I would most frequently use Viridian. But the Pthalos are powerful tinting compared to Viridian. So I'm exploring the added power.
Yellow Shade, Blue Shade, Viridian
You can see from the tints the power of the Pthalos. Viridan on the right is most closely approximated by the blue shade Pthalo Green. Quickly you will find out how easily a Pthalo can take over your palette. A challenge to paint handling dexterity - small bits of it into the mixing pile.
So I used the whole palette to dry brush over the top of Ken's Corner. For your info I first oiled in the painting with a solution of mineral spirits and alkyd (small bottle on the palette). This is like using retouch varnish to bring back the original lustre of the oil paint.
Ken's Corner - Scraped Back
Ken's Corner, 8x10, Oil on Board
Sunday, March 2, 2014
I finally got to go to the art discussion group at their hidden studio location up in the hills. It was a slippery entrance to Denis's studio. But everyone wants to be there and have a space like it. That is therapy by itself.
The Discussion and Reading End of the Studio
After seeing what Denis had on his easel and slipping into a cup of tea and a baked good we gathered around the fireplace to talk art.
The Work Area - Nothing Up
The discussion focused on how to improve a specific piece in progress. The stumbling point seemed to be the concept. When asked what I think I answer "what are you trying to do - concept?" If you can't answer that question it is hard to make a sensible critique. In the movie "Local Colour" the master drives this point home "Your idea was not strong".
Everyone learned something in this low key environment. Lots of laughter.
He Knows Where Everything Is
Paintings everywhere. North light. Kitchen, bathroom, bed, drawing area, framing area, perfect. Next session in two weeks. I better do some work to have something to show.
Friday, February 28, 2014
I had been using scraping in various forms as a painting process as opposed to a restart or scrapping activity. This knife scraping leaves at least the ghost of the original concept. On a canvas covered board there is a clear image, on a gessoed board not so much. For me in my current condition this eliminates drawing and composition complexities and allows me to get on the brush to work on mixing and brush work or knife work. I am going to continue with dry brush technique - no medium.
Palette With primaries and Old Mix Greys
Here the primary pigments are joined again with Cadmium Orange Fonce (KAMA) and the grey mixes from the day before stored at the bottom. These semi neutrals take on a colour and life of their own. Can't be reproduced or bought. Very valuable and saves time the next day.
Scraped Back Panel Image - Mill on The Pine River
This panel is canvas on board so a good image. From Memory I saw composition problems. Obvious value considerations. So I start with darks to give form and get me into the painting. Had to recall the source of light.
In Process - More Paint Required
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Ok, so maybe I want more options on the warm side of this short palette. I am going to explore higher chroma mixes in the red orange area which were available only in greyed versions using the primaries. In order to do this I added Cadmium Orange Fonce from KAMA paints of Montreal.
Three Primaries Plus Orange Fonce
Notice the other piles of paint scattered around the palette aside from the primaries across the top. These are mixtures from the last painting session. Somewhat greyed these are great for many passages in the next painting.
I decided to paint dry brush and do a scene from my head that was picked up on a ride by my good wife Karen aimed at getting me out of the house as I recover.
Here is the result of 45 minutes in the studio. The image is on loose canvas, gesso primed.
Late Winter's Day, Devils Pulpit
There is quite a bit of paint on this canvas (8x10) with little attention to blending the strokes. I want to tell the viewer that it is a painting. So put down the stroke and leave it.
Monday, February 24, 2014
I have been told that I have to limit what I lift. So I'm going to lighten my plein air load. As part of my comeback I'm experimenting with a limited palette. Other efforts will follow.
This keeps the frustration level low as I avoid attacking a whole painting. I mixed with a palette knife to develop that skill again.
If warranted I often squeeze out both Yellow Ochre and Red Oxide tube colours. This seemed appropriate when earth tones dominated my concept for the painting at hand. So lets see if I can mix these two from my three primaries plus white - a light paint load for my plein air kit.
Yellow Ochre Mix
So in a few seconds I mixed a close yellow ochre. Started with Cadmium Yellow, then stepped (greyed it down) on it with some violet (Ultramarine Blue plus Alizarin). To lighten I added a bit of Titanium White. First shot success!
On the Way to Red Oxide
Here you can see that the Yellow Ochre mix is real close to yellow ochre from the tube. To go to Red Oxide I added some Alizarin to some Yellow Ochre mix. Needs the complement to grey it down.
A Red Oxide Mix
You can see the result of adding Ultramarine to the reddish mix. Pretty close to the tube red oxide. So, I can mix these earth tones and eliminate them from my pack. Later I'll show the light weight pack itself.
Seems I was on for this exercise, good news. Took only 24 minutes in the studio.
From the first exercise in this series you will recall that the limited palette cannot produce certain colours. I will explore this next.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
For this session I added Cremnitz (Blue Ridge) white to the palette. The idea then was to mix with brush and or knife to avoid the more complex. Greys and semi neutrals are central to my painting so mixing should be enough for this session. That will give me time playing with the paint, the brushwork, and the colour. And I'll get to experience the difference between Titanium and Cremnitz white.
Today the brush felt more familiar in my hand and I was more aware of the feel of the paint. Brushwork did get a bit better.
A Cool Grey From the Primaries
I marked out some 8x10 spaces on a piece of used masonite.
8x10s For Future Use?
Just filling these spaces with mixtures gave me some low risk exercise with paint. I know that the complexity of a painted image might be discouraging at this stage. Too much decision making, too much concentration. So the greys with the two whites..... My Teacher would be proud.
Greys and Semi Neutrals
The top two 8x10s are tints using titanium white. The bottom two were mixed with Cremnitz. The Cremnitz is more transparent and I use more of it. It gives sophisticated mixes in infinite close variations.
50 minutes in the studio but less fatigue. Some progress!