Beach Study

I like the beach, in case you haven’t noticed.  Grass, sand, cliffs, water, wind.

I broke down and did a value study for this scene.

Of course, I did it on an accessible page in my sketchbook, but since I did the study before the painting, I knew where I wanted lights and darks.  As I worked, I pulled dark areas together to contrast with lighter / brighter areas.  I mixed my colors using zinc white, but this time used titanium white straight out of the tube to highlight the ocean waves.

I’ve been wondering why people say “zinc for mixing, titanium for highlights.”  Zinc is a transparent white, so it blends with gouache and watercolors without distorting the values.  Titanium is a more opaque white, and as a result good for highlights, but not recommended for color mixing.

 

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!