Saturday, March 28, 2009

Painting in Progress plus Palette

First layer of color, and I already love it!
This is my palette, but I never use all this color at one time.  I select specific colors for each painting based on a complimentary color scheme (even though this painting is actually a close-compliment scheme of yellow and blue.)  First I decide my "star" color.  The star for this painting is yellow, so I'll want to pick out a variety of yellows and its compliment purple.  My main yellow will be Cad Yellow Medium, and main purple, Garnet Lake.  
I've mixed this on a piece of glass to see the color easier.  I rarely use tube earth tones since I can mix them using compliments.  In this case, making a yellow ocher, which I can easily make lighter and darker, or warmer and cooler.  If I use a cooler and bluer purple, the colors will end up a bit on the green side, and I'm seeing a lot of greenish-ocher color in the shadow side of the "flower." 
These are the rest of the colors I will use for this painting, plus white.  I love having lots of choices, so I usually add warms and cools for each compliment.  For my yellow side, I add a warm of Cad Orange, then four cooler yellows.  I'm not going to add a warmer purple, because I can warm up the one I have with the Cad Orange, but I am going to add several blues.  

That's my color scheme theory in a nut shell.   

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Drawing and homemade view finder tool

In typical Chicago spring fashion, it's snowing here today.  Lucky for me, I have my own make believe spring growing right here in my studio.  This is the completed drawing on the 10x10 canvas, basically the same as my last post's drawing, except bigger and on canvas.  I did spend more time with this one, and I really loved every minute of it.  

Since this is more or less repeating my last post, I thought I would show my little homemade view finder tool.

I made this years ago, as you can see by the smudges and dried paint, from a 5x7 gray mat you can purchase for framing photos.  I cut the corners, then marked off the interior edges, starting at the corners going out, every half inch.  I can view my set up through my adjustable opening and determine exactly what size canvas will make the best composition.  Once that is decided, I paperclip the corners and continue to use it to help locate the major shapes during the drawing phase.  The mid-toned gray can be used to judge values as well.  

Now back to fun with flower!

Friday, March 6, 2009


Once again, rejoicing over the weather is causing me to throw caution to the wind, and celebrate by posting this very merry latest idea.  It is one that has been brewing and stewing in my brain for some time now.  I had planned to wait until the actual painting was completed before going full steam ahead, but I just couldn't wait, not on a day like today.  For tomorrow is sure to be cold again, but today is today!

STEP ONE:  photo of wire armature

STEP TWO (I know I should have made more photos of getting to step two, but I wasn't really thinking as usual.)  I used clay for the stem and leaves with actual bow and curling ribbon for those curly green things that are usually at the base of a flower.  Two light cans are visible, but only one is being used to light my 'flower.'  I am aiming for a 'fantasy' playful rendition of a flower, so the next one I do, I may need to push that a bit more.  But for now I'm excited!
STEP THREE:  I am what the book, Cheese Room Three, calls a Scurrier - one who has tendencies of scurrying to problem solve, instead of taking the time to think, before acting.  I've been doing a LOT of scurrying lately; starting new ideas and paintings, only to get half way into a huge canvas before realizing it isn't really a direction I want to continue.  My husband gave me a little pep talk, brought on by the mound of half finished paintings leaning against my studio wall, and suggested I might not be really thinking these ideas through before jumping into a painting.  I decided he was right, and that I would from now on, (or until I can no longer hold back the scurrier) start doing sketches and oil studies on paper before proceeding to canvas.  Besides, this set up has many potential compositions to explore, AND I've really been obsessing over Euan Uglow lately and doing painting exercises (will post later) to study his approach, so I thought this would give me a great opportunity to try mixing drawing with the painted surface.  I used Conte crayons for the sketch, which is 6x6, then sprayed with a fixative before painting on top.
STEP FOUR:  Could not be happier with the outcome of this oil sketch and plan to continue this on a 10x10 canvas.  I feel in many ways this is what I was after when I started my giant multi-yellow present painting LAST spring.  I've spent a year searching for what to paint since that incomplete painting.  Is it possible that an idea wants to be expressed so much, that it will hang on and torture you for a YEAR until it is figured out?  Looking at it now, it is so simple, what took me so long to act on this very obvious way for me to interpret Spring's first glorious show of color here in Chicago? I suppose sometimes the most obvious is the most overlooked.  Funny too, the Dandelion is certainly an overlooked flower, and just like my idea that refused to go unrealized, the Dandelion is certainly a persistent little thing!  Tomorrow there may be snow, but for today may there be Dandelions!