Sunday, January 30, 2011

Growing Into a Palette

I am going to take a small side path here for this post. The still life set up I showed last week is winding up. I did a monochromatic thumbnail oil sketch of the set up and then decided to do a full size graphite sketch before starting the painting. The thumbnail only took an hour and it was approximately 5"x7". It gave me a sense of the lights and darks , proportions, and angles of the set up. After doing the oil sketch I felt I needed to do the graphite sketch as well to help me get the proportions right. The set up is more complex than I am used to doing. The sketch is not intended to be finished at all. It is a process tool for me. I will be moving on to the actual painting this coming week.
Last post Theresa commented on the placement of the lemon. I realized a bit later that I forgot to mention that I did not take the photo from the same vantage point that I will be painting. I had to use a tripod for the camera to take the picture and could not get it in the same place where I will be standing to paint. I appreciated the comment though. It made me take another look from a different viewpoint. The lemon stays where it is, which looks closer to the other objects from my viewpoint.
I have also set up a very much simpler still life to work on which I will talk about next post. This will allow me to trade off between the two paintings and give my poor mind and eye a break from the more complex one. 
So, a bit about my paint palette.  I am using the paint color list that my former school has us use. As you can see in the following picture, there are a lot of colors (the ones positioned around the left and top edges):

For some reason this is the only picture I have on hand so sorry for the mess in the middle. At this time I use Gamblin paints, mediums, and solvents with a couple of exceptions. I also have Windsor and Newton Permanent Rose, Bloxx's Capucine Yellow (an absolutely seductive transparent goldy pink that I wouldn't mind having for a lipgloss, and I don't wear lipgloss!), and Williamsburg Courbet Green. I mostly use Gamblin's Flake White Replacement but also have Titanium White. I have Gamblin's Chromatic Black but haven't really found the need to use it. I like the life in the blacks that I mix on my own better than what comes out of the tube.
I should mention at this point, I love color. For those of you who have read my Renee Weaves! blog (currently in mothballs but can still read archives) you know I love color and had a great time playing with Earthues Dyes one fine summer.
There are different schools of thought on how many colors one should have on one's palette. There are some who feel a limited palette is the best to start with and stay with. Personally, no matter how skilled the artist or how wonderful the painting, I just don't like the looks of a painting done with a limited palette, and I can always tell. I am at a slight disadvantage from my former classmates as I didn't get to the color part of my education before the school moved. Fortunately, I do know a lot about color and color theory from working in textiles and playing with dyes. Some of that carries over nicely.
I love having all these colors. I enjoy playing with different mixtures and problem solving. Does it always work out? Heck no! However, I learn a lot. At this point, because I have so much to learn, it takes me a bit longer to work than it will eventually. I hope!
The actual palette itself is made of wood. I might be changing that sometime in the future. I keep it in a Masterson's Palette keeper and store it, well wrapped, in the freezer to extend the life of the paint.
While I am at it I might as well touch on the brushes I currently use. I ordered a handful of brushes in the same size and shape from different companies. I find I really like Silver's Black Pearl which is synthetic. I should mention that all my brushes are synthetic fiber due to my personal beliefs. I also like Royal Langnickle's Bourdeaux and Isabey Isacryl. I will try a few others as my budget allows and welcome any suggestions.
As the title of the post suggests, I am still experimenting and learning what will work for me and my eventual subjects and style. I have already made some minor changes and noticed that I have dipped into every color on the palette but I definitely use some more than others.
OK, I am sure some of you are starting to glaze over and nod off so I will stop here. Next week should bring some progress on the still life painting.
-Renee

4 comments:

Evelyn said...

One of the best classes I took was understanding colour. The instructor recommended playing with as many pigments as one could afford and working into your own palette. As for the lemon, it seemed a little bright to me in that setting, but a photo isn't telling all and as you say the angle is different.

Theresa said...

LOL, there are so many beautiful colors why limit yourself! I love that the only picture is one of the color palette set up in use! Good good good!
And as to the errant lemon, well perspective changes everything! ;)

Renee said...

Thanks Eveylyn and Theresa, as Theresa said, perspective changes everything! You all will just have to wait to see the finished painting. Of course, it will be a photo of the painting....!

Renee said...

Oops! Sorry Evelyn! My fingers got crazy with the "y" key.

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