173. Mellow Yellows

Today I did what I had hoped to do yesterday, but I painted a temple instead.  So, this afternoon, I sat down with my studio palette and decided to take a good look at the yellows I have, use them individually, as well as mix them.  The colors include aureolin, new gamboge, raw sienna, cadmium yellow, hansa yellow, quinacridone gold, raw sienna, and “mystery yellow,” named thus because I didn’t label it!

Above are my first paintings, mixing colors and not happy with the results.  So, I did pure color studies of the lemons to see what I could get.

Above, pure colors in varying densities to see what they could do.  It was quite interesting!

In the studies using only one yellow, I varied the density of the paint from very watery to rather heavy.  I did the same in the above picture with sap green.

In this one, I used pure hansa yellow, sap green blended into the yellow, and cobalt blue for the shadows, with some bleed from the lemon.  The stem was pure sap green.

Heirloom tomatoes are always interesting – they are rather like aliens in the produce department!  Again, limited palette with varying uses of the colors individually and mixed.

Another alien, but this time I created a swatch of the colors as I did the painting.

If you want to scroll through the paintings, click on an image above.  I like doing that because I see things in a sequence.

Anyway, I really got a better sense of the yellows and how I might use them.  Cadmium yellow, hansa yellow, raw umber and raw sienna are my most-used yellows, but can see where others may be valuable, such as in shadows and so on.  Hansa yellow is a cold yellow, in my opinion, and the warmth of the cadmium yellow cannot be beat.  For rotten bananas, raw sienna isn’t too bad!

 

166. Misty River

More wet-in-wet work.  This time, I paid a bit more attention to the details along with the wet paper and paint.  I laid down washes, waited for them to dry, and then laid down wash upon wash.  At times I lifted color out while still wet, too.  It’s hard to describe what I did, but overall I was more deliberate in my approach to this painting, taking time rather than letting my impatient personality dominate.  The result is a more successful painting.

Colors include burnt sienna, Hooker’s green, ultramarine blue, quinacridone gold, and perhaps a touch of sap green and cobalt blue.  Limited palettes really help pull a painting together, as well as help you learn what colors, when mixed, produce what new color.

Brushes included a huge round for the main washes, and then a medium / small round, and a rigger brush for the grasses.  I got the rigger as a Christmas present, and this is the first time I used it.  I practiced on scrap paper, and can see why a lot of people like them!  This one is a bit stiff and has a lot of snap to it.

160. Winter Sparkle

winter sparkle

After a fresh snow, an icy snow or blizzard, the day is filled with sparkles when you look against the sky.  In photography, it’s easy to capture – line up the sun, the light, move around, and you get it.  In painting, though, it’s a totally different thing.  How to express that sparkle?  I tried to capture it in the upper left corner by dabbing in colors of blue and black and bits of ink – did it work?  I don’t know.  On the bits of snow in the lower left, small dots of blue to represent shadows on the white snow.  Perhaps that is a bit more successful.

Pen, ink, watercolor, limited palette.  Wet on dry.  Ink on paper.  Ink on painted paper.  Wet into wet.  A morning mish-mash, but every day I am trying to do something with ink or watercolor.  Not always successful, but an everyday activity from which a lot can be learned!

112. Window in the Wood

Another window, this time set into a log building.  The logs were fun to paint – just broad swooshes with a brush, and then some detail.  (I think I could use a few more wider dark swooshes in the upper 1/2 of the windows for the logs.)  Here, as in yesterday’s painting, detail is important, but still needs simplification to express the window and the logs.  Overall, I am rather pleased with this picture.  My palette was very limited – burnt umber, burnt sienna, and ultramarine blue.  Oh, I threw in some zoisite (DS) because I love its granualtion!

43.4 Two Color Studies: Trail in the Snow

Another two-color study, this time using Burnt Sienna instead of Burnt Umber, along with the Ultramarine Blue.  As an aside, looking up lists of “warm” and “cool” colors, the umber and ultramarine are considered “warm” by some.  Beats me, as they sure look icy together.  Here, the Burnt Sienna alone or diluted is warm in cast, but moves to dark and cold (in my eye) when combined with the Ultramarine Blue.

43.2 Two Color Studies: Roadside

Last summer we drove through a lot of the wild west.  The loneliness of Wyoming always gets me – vistas of open space, few cars, fewer people.  Taking a picture during the summer is much different than what you see in winter, so I looked at some of the photos I took out of the window as we drove from Laramie to the Tetons.  I tried to imagine how barren and cold it could be.  Always the sky, always the distance, always the barbed wire fences.  Again, in Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna.

Besides trying to imagine a scene, I also tried out a new brush.  It is a Cosmotop flat, by DaVinci brushes of Germany; it’s about 3/4″ wide.  I wanted to see how it would do on the Canson XL paper I use for practice, in particular to see if I could get a “sparkly” effect with a dry brush.  The paper is too smooth for that to work successfully, which is why there are fine lines in the foreground.  (Sigh.)  It did a pretty good job for wet-in-wet sky, and along the horizon line.