Category Archives: work in progress

On (and off) the easel

Two weeks ago I posted a  new work-in-progress and then the site went down for a few days and I never posted the finished piece. Here it is with additional detail and the final glaze in Ivory Black.

Acadia Snow finalIf I’d given more thought to the process of changing from pastels to oils after all this time I would have started with studies – small pieces with discrete subject matter as exercises – rather than full on painting subjects. This is the first drawing, in brush and ivory black, for a series of still life studies featuring grapes and the occasional red plum. I think they will be very educational.

grape study drawing

 

 

Work in progress

I had a week off in June and decided to make the switch from pastels to oil paints. It has been a steep learning curve, no matter that I painted for a decade before we had a baby and I decided to use a less toxic medium.

Snow CliffI’m working from sketches and photos from last winter of this site in Acadia National Park, 18″ x 24″, oil on board.

Work in progress

roses and cherries oil sketch

Queen of Denmark Roses with Cherries, drawing in oil on gessoed board, 18 x 24″

I have a new oil sketch on the easel. By tonight it will be dry enough to start the actual painting, so I thought it might be interesting to record this stage of the work. The roses are “Konigin von Danemark/Queen of Denmark”, a beautiful complex pink in form and color, with grey/green leaves. The mallow blooms are an entirely different pink which will be a good exercise for my new palette (that only contains one red).

 

Palette

I love my new oil palette. Reading and research gave me some ideas while I tried to keep an open mind and avoid the prejudices I’ve been taught. For instance, my current line-up does not include any cadmium colors although all of my teachers thought they were indispensable.

and thats how you make cherries

Titanium White – Neither warm nor cool, somewhere between Zinc and Lead white. R. suggested using Old Holland brand for this particular color because of the relative intensity of its tinting strength and now I can’t get along without it. The history notes from Dick Blick are interesting:

Titanium is the ninth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, however mineral deposits that are economical to mine are less common. Titanium dioxide was first discovered in 1821, although it could not be mass produced until 1919. Widespread use of the pigment began in the 1940s. Since that time, it has become the most commonly used white pigment.

Permanent yellow light – Cooler than the cadmium yellows that it was intended to be a chemical replacement for, and much more versatile. This pigment mixed with Ivory black makes a beautiful range of still-life greens.

Quinacridone ruby (also sold as Old Holland magenta) – From the  Dick Blick excerpt on this color:

Chemical Formula: C22H16N2O2

Properties: Quinacridone Magenta is a semi-transparent and powerful bluish red with an impressive mixing range. It makes an excellent glazing color and is one of the bluest of the Quinacridone colors. The pigment’s properties vary considerably, depending on how it is ground. Quinacridone pigments have relatively low tinting strength in general. For this reason, quinacridone colors are often expensive, because more pigment is required in the formulation.

Permanence: Quinacridone Magenta offers very good lightfastness in most media, but some have argued that it is less lightfast in watercolor form. Although Quinacridone Magenta received only a passing grade of “fair” under ASTM test protocols, other test results have rated the pigment very good to excellent. Transparent reddish violet pigments in general have more problems with lightfastness than any other range of colors. PR122 is often used as the Magenta of CMYK (four color) process printing because it offers a better tradeoff between tinting strength and lightfastness than other pigments in its class.

History:Quinacridone Magenta came from a red violet aniline dye that was first produced in 1858 by Natanson. It was called Magenta to commemorate a battle in Magenta, Italy. Over time, Magenta became the standard color name for a deep, violet red. Although quinacridone compounds became known in the late 19th century, methods of manufacturing so as to make them practical for use as commercial pigments did not begin until the 1950s. PR122 has become particularly popular in the formulation of Magenta for CMYK process printing.

Phthalo green blue – intense, mixes well, and is closest to the discontinued (and toxic) Verdigris.

Manganese blue – copper phthalocyanine. Very deep and slow drying, reliable and light-fast, tending toward green. This pigment was discovered by accident in 1935.

Ivory black – from charred bones these days, since ivory is protected. Blue-black with a hint of brown in mixtures, this color functions in my palette (with so many cool colors) as a warm mixture.

Raw Umber – A combination of Mars Black and Mars Orange, this dark pigment has strong warm undertone, great for warming the phthalo blues.

I’ve never had a more dependable selection of pigments, even for simple two-color mixes to produce a range of still-life colors. This random sample is permanent yellow light and q. rose, tinted with white at the bottom of the palette and toned with ivory black to the right.

two color mixes

Next on the easel is a set up of pink mallow and scarlet roses on a raw umber ground. Can’t wait!

 

Home again, home again

Just back from a week painting on an island in Penobscot Bay with new work, a decision to move from pastels to oils and still-life to landscapes, three full camera cards and a pack full of laundry.

Two small studies of Bear Island.

Bear Island I

Bear Island II

Many thanks to the folks who made this possible and provided exuberant company, serious inspiration and very, very good food. And here’s the link to the eminently practical Macabi skirt I promised!

Now I have to get out into the garden, bu first – a rainbow over Penobscot Bay:

not photo-shopped

 

Great Spruce Head Island, 6/23 – 6/29/2012

Eight tubes of paint, five brushes (thanks, R!), stand oil and turp, paper towels, 5 boards (that’s way too many), 10 pieces of paper (ditto), a Mason jar of shellac and chip brushes, mosquito/tick repellant, sunscreen, hat, windbreaker, socks, running gear (hells yeah), 10 lbs of fresh herbs for Barney the Chef (not even kidding), a world of pencils, white plastic erasers, blue masking tape, Alleve and Absorbine Jr., 3 Kind bars, a Kindle Fire, a Tracfone, a pac of USB’s, camera, 2 memory cards for same, 2 Moleskine notebooks.  I think I’m ready.

Ready set go

TBC. . .