Gouache Sample Cards with Zinc White

I am not the kind of person who likes to swatch things, colors, paints, knitting, and so on.  I just like to dive in and do things.  To a degree, this is good as it allows me to spend time learning about something before working on the theories, if that makes sense.  With painting, experiencing it first is for me a better way to understand something.  Afterward I can get analytical.

Since I feel comfortable now with gouache, I made up a series of swatch cards.  I took each color I have (which is far too many most likely!), painted a pure out-of-the-tube bit of color, and then, from right to left, added more white to see how the color changed.  It took a bit to figure out the best way to swatch, but that is how I like to do things – just do!

Each swatch card below can be enlarged so you can see the name of the paint color and see how it responds to the addition of white.

I found this to be a really helpful exercise. Some colors are so different when white is added, some for the better, some for the worse, and some are just plain surprising. For instance, I love Hooker’s Green in watercolor, but am not at all enamored with it in gouache. It could be the brand, too, but it came as a surprise.

My next exercise is likely to be adding black to the colors, or choosing a complementary color. I like the idea of working with complements for greys, and while blacks will dull a color, it is not the same as making a grey. I can also try my Holbein Grey #2 as well. Today, though, enough with analysis, and on to painting!

Tree Ferns

When I first posted the outline of these ferns, a reader, Sharon, suggested in her comment to fill in just the background.  I was going to fill in the stems and leaves, but her idea was intriguing.  I had thought of using watercolor with a brush, or watercolor pencils, or even just colored pencils.  Instead, I thought brush pens (like Tombow, but not Tombow) might work.  So, I ordered them from Amazon.  Fun to use, and a lot of colors!  And a great excuse to buy some art supplies, don’t you think?  I rather like the results.  Thanks, Sharon!

Negative Painting: Pink Daisies Gone Mad

Today has been a day of frustrations.  Nothing seems to be going right.  Everyone has those days, yeah, I know, but I rather other people have them, not me!  But, they do serve a purpose in that they do make you realize … something.

That said, let’s get on to the negative painting scene.  It is not easy.  I think to create a painting like this, practice and experience play an important part.  Practice is what I keep doing.  And then I reach a point where I am just irritated beyond measure, and need to break loose.  I’ll come back to practice, but by nature, I am a gaudy color lover, and having a monochrome study makes me feel trapped.  I wonder if others feel the same way.  So, pink daisies, a la the hydrangea, and I am ready to go nuts.  Here they are  – the first round.

And then the second one from this morning . . .

Some success.  And then I did the third layer . . . and had to just mess with it as I was ready to scream.  Part of it was just frustration in that I didn’t really like this process at all.  Maybe it’s not for me.  In the end, just playing with some colors on my palette, some which I just recently got.  It was a total color mess – so lines were added.  It’s sort of cheery, but it also reminds me of what I cannot do.

The good news, no mud.  It’s kind of fun.  But I also know what I want to accomplish, and doing this stuff is not going to get me there.  The colors are fun, and good practice, but I also know that my impatience and scatterbrained-ness don’t help me, either.  Ongoing practice will improve my skills, I hope.  So, I keep playing.

A part of me wonders if / when I reach my desired “look” if I will become extremely boring to myself.