223. Crocus

This became more of an impression of crocus rather than a detailed study.  To tell the truth, I have never seen a crocus in my life!  I can imagine the joy they bring, though, as they peek through the last of the winter’s snow.  Hyacinths were the bulbs that bloomed in the snow in the midwest, soon followed by tulips and daffodils.  I tried to work with negative space to define the flowers, as well as blur the background and put a bit more detail in the foreground – perspective in action on a conscious level!

This is the reverse side of the paper I used yesterday, St. Cuthbert’s Millford.  This paper has a really nice tooth, not smooth or CP, and smoother than rough.  It catches the brush bristles rather nicely.  Colors are dreamy when blending together.  It also lifts well – some color ran into another area and I was able to lift it out and recover to a degree from the mischief.  I don’t know if Arches would handle it as well as this paper, but that is something I should check out.

In addition to no longer making masses of mud, I find I am actually remembering things – make long brush strokes, lay down large areas of light colors and leave the whites in the process; think about the direction of the light; a few rules about perspective.

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!


98. Yellow + Red = Orange

Yesterday’s tulips were accompanied by red and yellow flowers, some negative painting, and color combining. I used reds and yellows (which ones, I forget) and some Pyrrol Orange to make the flowers. Thinking of black-eyed Susans, I used black for the flowers’ centers on the daisy-like ones. What are the red ones? Good question!

What I did here was try to work from large masses of color to details, top to bottom, and having things dry to a certain point before adding more color unless I wanted them to bleed.  White space, too, was thought about.  Near and far, even with a rather shallow depth of field, was pondered, and the idea was to use cold colors – such a cold yellow or green – to make something recede – and warm colors to bring things forward.  Light and dark were also used in an attempt to achieve this effect.

45.3 Tulips (Iron Gall Ink) – Painted

I should have done a value study here, but not in the mood, and not having a lot of time, I just decided to paint, hoping I “saw” the shadows enough.  Pretty tulips turned into a rather ugly mess!  Still, it is a learning experience, and the doing is often more important than the final results.  I am quite sure my paintings will be gone and not found in a museum.