Monday, September 12, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Final practice yesterday for the tiny pochade.  Painted again from a post top.  The new elastic held canvas elevator works well.  Less of a paint covered thumb, and I can get to the bottom of the canvas much easier.

Tilt - almost a studio

This was almost too easy.  It is what it is.  Here I did a 10x12, the largest I plan on going in France.  I have 9 8x10 linen panels, and 10 9x12 linen pieces in a pad.  Still lots of room.  Maybe I should take a clean pair of socks.  Good painting rags.

Just before packing a few minutes ago, I printed off boarding passes.  A warning caught my eye.  Under "restricted material", paint caught my eye.  I called Air Canada.  As you would expect, I got caught in the "press 1 for" merry go round.  Never did talk to a person.  They are hiding.  I did get it from a "reliable source" however, that oil and acrylic artist paint tubes are allowed in the check in baggage.  They must be in an absorbant material and inside a leak proof container.  Large zip lock bags work well.  So we are ready to go.  The chauffeur (my daughter) just blew in the door.  So here we go.  I'll let you know what we forgot.  We travel light with a back pack.

Later in the Test

I am deploying the concepts I have been developing in my townscape series here in the landscape.  Not too evident yet in this one.

Distilled - in process

I plan on using the approach in Paris and Normandy.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Those Fall Colours

They can make a riot in Red or Yellow.  How can you treat them in an image?  

Here is an example of what one might see.  Even this is only a snippit of the whole view seen by your eye and registered by your brain.  So this scene is a bit out of context standing alone in a frame.

Hockley Valley

You might choose to paint this image.

Colour WOW

This IS eye catching.  It is further out of context.  Even Abstract.  How to paint it?  Should you paint it?  This is truly only a snippit.  Alone this image doesn't read easily.  There is little to compare it to.  There is little structure.  It yells at you - non stop.  Almost only one shape in the form of an uninteresting rectangle.  If you were painting abstract.....     maybe.

Over time, many artists have found the fall colours are better expressed at a time past the peak, when the structure is more evident and there are interesting shapes, greys and complementery colours setting it off.  These elements give rise to unique and different shapes in other than a loud monocolour.

From later in the season,

Bushwork, 12x12, Oil on Canvas

Or maybe this, from the Hockley Valley scene above.  More structure is shown along with some complementary colours - violets and greens.  Most of the colours have been reduced in chroma.

Beautiful Today, 20x24, Oil on Canvas

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Colour Harmony

Out there yesterday it was obvious how much the colours have changed.  The mustard yellow of the rag weed is overpowering in some patches.  The soy beans are into the second stage yellows, soon to be oranges and russets.  So you know the fall colours are arriving over the next 6 weeks or so.

Stewart's Hangout,  11x14, Oil on Canvas

Out of the green dominance will come a multicolour plate.  How to obtain colour harmony?  Here I'll talk painting from life representationally where colour harmony arises from the qualities in light.  Harmony in what we might invent follow from this observation.  It seems Nature is the teacher.  You can make colour temperature reversals if and when they look convincing.  Observing life will show you where they actually occur.

It is easy to mess up colour harmony by using formulas.  For example, some premix a single (prevailing) colour into every colour on the palette.  Worse yet is mixing that colour into white.  However, true harmony requires different amounts of the prevailing colour for each and every mixture to be used, and there is no way to predict this.  Take an early morning warm light versus the light later in the morning.  Or a north light versus a south light on an overcast day.

To help you see these in life it is a good idea to mix colour charts.  These little gems are done for each colour on your palette showing them in combination with each other colour in 5 values.  Maybe a bit repetitive, but challenging and central to knowing your palette colours.

Cad Yellow Light

Ultramarine Blue

The colour in these photos is off.  Apologies.  Each chart is for one colour.  It is mixed in a column with each of the colours on your palette.  The colour for the chart dominates - so each mixture leans towards that colour.  For example, the first chart is for Cadmium Yellow light.  The first column is that colour by itself then mixed with white in equal steps to almost white at the bottom.  On the first chart, the last column consists of Cadmium Yellow Light plus Ultramarine - leaning towards the yellow, then mixed in lighter values to near white.  In between these two columns lie columns for each colour on your palette mixed with Cadmium Yellow Light.

If I was wandering what colours are in the general family as I stood there doing the painting above, I would see that these two families fit pretty well.  I could use a few outliers and get away with them, but as it happens, I stayed pretty much within these charts.  

With experience painting from life, and having done the colour scales (just like a musician) I tend to see most of the colour possibilities without using the charts.  But, when I have to, or when I need a tune up.......  

Friday, September 2, 2011

Getting Ready for France

All that plein air stuff just has to get simplified for a long trip full of walking.  To that end I built a small box.  But, you have to get used to the minimalist approach.  My first practice session was yesterday at Scotsdale farm.

On a Fence Post

No tripod.  Too heavy and bulky.

All in One

Holds a lot.  3 brushes, #4, #6, #8.  Medium cup.  11 small tubes shown here.  A palette, removable.  2 wet or dry 8x10 boards.  I am using oil primed linen boards.  I also will paint on 11x14 loose oil primed linen that I clip to a board.

Nearly Packed Up

Since this is small I can walk about with it in a small day pack.


In the past I have painted with the box on my lap, on a garbage can, on a stone wall, on a pick nick table etc.    It is best to practice.  The fence post painting was not a real problem once I got going.  I got used to painting without a free hand.  Lots of paint on me, but that will get better as I gain experience.  Hopefully twice more before I head to France.

The light was flat from the overcast condition at Scotsdale.  A good way to practice a local tone painting - no shadows or hi lites, just the local tones/colour and value, at least three tones, interesting unique shapes.

Breaking Out, 8x10, Oil on Board

Looks a bit bright and chromatic here.  Less in reality.  The colours are changing.  Fall is well in the way.  Green still dominates.