Thursday, May 30, 2013

Art Tip #108

In the Black

I use a limited palette which doesn't include black.  I make my own for several reasons.  One, I can control the temperature of my black.  From the photo, you can see the the cooler black/greys on the left with the warm version on the right.  I also find that tube black can be such a dead color & my blacks have life to them.  My standard mixture is 2 parts Ultramarine to 1 part Burnt Sienna (this will vary with the brand that you use).  This is also the base for my green (mother color) mixture which will be my next art tip.  I make just about every green that I need from this main color.  Hard to believe but greens are never an issue for me.  

 If you struggle with mixing believable & harmonious greens be sure to catch next Tuesday's post.  Happy weekend.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Art Tip #107

Favorite Bedtime Reading

The Language of Drawing

There are 4 books that are always by my bedside.  This is my favorite even though it's not about oil painting.   The book is more about seeing rather than about actual rendering. Translating the information in front of her, Sherrie is able to capture the lyrical nature of her subject.  Simply looking at her drawings makes me what to capture what she captures, which to say, the essence & beauty of her subject.  While it is not a new book, I believe it deserves a place on any artist's bookshelf.  

Check back to see which are some of my other favorite bedtime art books.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Art Tip #106

The Tools 

I have a few jars of brushes but tend to stay with the assortment above.  I use Winsor Newton's Monarch series.  They are synthetic mongoose brushes and brights & filberts are my favorite.  The brights give me such a strong stroke & the filbert provides a wonderfully, fluid line.  While they can be a little pricey, they last forever.  I've been painting with 4 brushes for more than 3 years and they just keep getting better.  Without my brushes, I'd be lost.  Buy the best you can, treat them well & they can serve you for a long time.  

What's your favorite brush?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Art Tip #104


Several people have asked what the warm yellow is on my palette.  It's Indian Yellow.  If you are unfamiliar with Indian Yellow, let me introduce you to the wonderful possibilities of this tube of paint.  It's a transparent warm yellow which compliments the opaque Cad. Yellow Light on my palette. 

Mixing Ind. Yellow w/ Titanium White and call it my BUTTER.  It's an ideal way to lighten colors without adding pure white, it's the base of my transparent "mother color" green mixture (another tip for later) & it mixes to the most natural yellow that I seem unable to sufficiently achieve with the Cad. Yellow colors.  Many years ago, I realized that my palette was heavily weighted with opaque colors & in the process of switching out for more transparent paints, I discovered Indian Yellow.  I only use Gamblin Indian Yellow.  There is such huge swing in the quality & color with other brands.  

 I find Gamblin's Indian Yellow to be the most pure hue.  It's such a personal preference but if you aren't happy with your paint...what's the point?

Do you love Indian Yellow as much as I do?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Art Tip #103


Despite the name, I think it's the best brush cleaner around.  I've revived 6 year old, dried out paint brushes (the kind that could kill someone) back to almost new.   For my really bad brushes, I coat the bristles & let them sit for a day or two (occasionally massaging the soap into the bristles).  You'll know when it's done it's job, the bristles will be pliable.  Just rinse really well, pat dry & then add a little oil back to the brush.  I've saved so many brushes.   It's been harder to find in the art stores but here's a link to purchase.  

 Don't you have a container of old, paint laden brushes sitting around your studio that you would love to use again?    

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Art Tip #102

The Beauty of a Limited Palette

How many paint colors are on your palette?   I have 6 plus white.  A warm & cool of each primary.  I mix my own dark/black which is also the base of my greens.  I can usually obtain any color within 3 mixes and thereby avoid muddy or dead colors.  Having so many tubes of paint doesn't make it easier to get the right color, it fact makes it more difficult.  You can get overwhelmed with too many choices.  My limited palette is like having a good basic cake recipe.  You can mix it without thinking and then have the ability to make different cakes from that basic recipe.

I don't think of my palette as limited but as unlimited because I know how my paints react & compliment each other.  I've yet to come up with a color I can't mix.  I'm a much more confident painter with my limited palette.  What about you?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Art Tip #101

I've been teaching oil painting for 8 years.  After painting miles of canvas and trying to articulate those tips for my students, I thought would share these with you.  The lessons will range from talking color, loosening up, finding your style, painting from photos to how to clean your brushes.  Some will be profound, some funny and some abstract but hopefully all useful.

Tip #101
Thank God for baby wipes

Almost every student hears me say..."What a lovely shade of lipstick, is that Cad. Red Light? or you could do the "Got Milk" commercial, if milk color was Viridian".   Baby Wipes save the day.  My favorite wipes are Rite Aid's brand but Pampers works good too.  So before you leave the studio, make sure if there is paint on you, it at least coordinates with your outfit.

If you have a question that you would like me to answer, email me.