Monday, September 17, 2012

"Limited Palettes"

"Red Bandana", 4&1/2 x 4&1/2 oil on linen

The subject of palettes, open or limited, seems to eventually come up again and again in classes, workshops, or conversation. Yesterday afternoon, I decided to paint two small studies with a limited palette of five colors. I generally always squeeze out a full open palette on a daily basis. This is how I learned, and I have always started with an open palette. That does not mean that I always use every color that is before me…..and as a result, I waste, or scrape off a lot of unused paint. If one checks out the pigments that are being used, generally it comes down to a very limited palette. It isn’t a conscious thing, unless I intend to use a limited number of colors from the beginning as I have done in the two small paintings in this posting.

Limited palettes can be any combinations of colors one chooses. There are traditional limited palettes like the well known , and probably most famous, Zorn palette. The Zorn palette is Ivory Black, White, Vermilion, yellow ochre. This is a very limited palette. I believe from studying his work that some of his paintings must have included some kind of blue….which would still make this a very limited palette. The point here is that it doesn’t matter. Experiment and choose a palette that suits your needs. A limited palette will give one a more harmonious color balance, and the unity of color seems to always be more reasonable and acceptable. An open palette is great if some restraint is used….if not used properly, it can get out of control colorful….and that is one’s personal preference. Some folks like very colorful, saturated work. I tend to be drawn to a more naturalistic sense of color. I certainly know from experience, and have painted my share of these types of failed paintings, or what I consider failed efforts. My storage is jammed with good quality linen with bad images on them that need to be sanded down and re-primed.

"The white Robe", 7 x 4 &1/2 oil on linen
These two images were painted with an intentional limited palette. The pigments used were, Indian red, ultra-marine blue deep, yellow ochre, Titanium white, and Cad red medium. I think as long as one has the capacity to make warm colors and cool colors, it really does not matter….it is one’s personal choice. Color in my opinion is not as important as value and proper temperature. Matching color can be a huge waste of time. One could spend all of a class time trying to match color, and never quite get it, so why do that….the integrity of the color of the subject is all that is required if drawing is good, value is right, etc. I’m sure most have probably tried, or use a limited palette, but if not, definitely give it a try. If nothing else, it might take you out of your comfort zone….which can sometimes be a very positive thing. It will also help to learn more about mixing colors, rather than just dipping into a color that is part of your palette. Thanks for listening to my ramblings.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Ballet Montage"

I have been tossing around the idea of doing some dance paintings again. I have painted a few in the past and thought it might be nice to revisit that subject, so I started playing around with some old images on this 12x16 panel.....and ended up with this little montage of ballet images. I will get models together and get new material started on what hopefully will be a series of dance related paintings. I hope to post images as they become available. Need to start right away, and commit to a couple of paintings before I get involved with something else. Could be a way to keep myself entertained for a while. Thanks for listening to my ramblings.

"Ringling Demo Night and Illest fundraiser"

Detail above of Demo night Painting below.

Thursday night was the Ringling faculty demo night, and I had the pleasure of participating and donating my approximately two hour demo to the Illest fundraiser. It was, as usual, well attended and fun.....and I understand that a few bucks were raised. They are a well organized group of students. Talked to many students, and it is always fun to be painting no matter what the occasion. I scared the heck out of finishing this 18x14 oil on linen. I think another hour might have done it.

Detail # 2

"Wekiva River Studies"

Last Saturday I painted these three Plein Air studies from the Wekiva River area while visiting an artist friend from Altamonte Springs. This a beautiful place that I had not visited or painted before. The river has what I would image is an old Florida look....seemingly untouched. I understand they do everything they can to preserve and protect it from negative change. Areas of the river have a rusty colored bottom that is beautiful in the shallow bottoms. Definitely a place worth visiting for plein air painters, if you like water with your wild nature. It was a fun visit....must go there again.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

"Rocks and Docks" a summer plein air study.

This is one of the small plein air paintings I managed to do on location in Port Clyde, Maine this summer. It is only 9x12 and painted in a very suggested manner with little detail. That is generally what I try to achieve outdoors.....and if I'm lucky, some of that spontaneous feeling will be conveyed in the studio. It is something that I always consider, and much as is possible, that I am outside....minus the heat and adverse conditions. Sometimes it works very nicely.....sometimes it is something different, which is not always a bad thing.