Friday, February 28, 2014

Comeback 5, Scraped Back Panel

I had been using scraping in various forms as a painting process as opposed to a restart or scrapping activity.  This knife scraping leaves at least the ghost of the original concept.  On a canvas covered board there is a clear image, on a gessoed board not so much.  For me in my current condition this eliminates drawing and composition complexities and allows me to get on the brush to work on mixing and brush work or knife work.  I am going to continue with dry brush technique - no medium.

Palette With primaries and Old Mix Greys

Here the primary pigments are joined again with Cadmium Orange Fonce (KAMA) and the grey mixes from the day before stored at the bottom.  These semi neutrals take on a colour and life of their own.  Can't be reproduced or bought.  Very valuable and saves time the next day.

Scraped Back Panel Image - Mill on The Pine River

This panel is canvas on board so a good image.  From Memory I saw composition problems.  Obvious value considerations.  So I start with darks to give form and get me into the painting.  Had to recall the source of light.

In Process - More Paint Required

I am trying to get a better depiction of the light on the scene.  Total time to this point was one hour in the studio.  Had to take a rest to return later.

With Walk - By Touches

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Comeback 4, Dry Brush and Expanding the Palette

Ok, so maybe I want more options on the warm side of this short palette.  I am going to explore higher chroma mixes in the red orange area which were available only in greyed versions using the primaries.  In order to do this I added Cadmium Orange Fonce from KAMA paints of Montreal.

Three Primaries Plus Orange Fonce

Notice the other piles of paint scattered around the palette aside from the primaries across the top.  These are mixtures from the last painting session.  Somewhat greyed these are great for many passages in the next painting.

I decided to paint dry brush and do a scene from my head that was picked up on a ride by my good wife Karen aimed at getting me out of the house as I recover.

Here is the result of 45 minutes in the studio.  The image is on loose canvas, gesso primed.

Late Winter's Day, Devils Pulpit

There is quite a bit of paint on this canvas (8x10) with little attention to blending the strokes.  I want to tell the viewer that it is a painting.  So put down the stroke and leave it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Comeback 3, Limited Palette Mixing

I have been told that I have to limit what I lift.  So I'm going to lighten my plein air load.  As part of my comeback I'm experimenting with a limited palette.  Other efforts will follow.

This keeps the frustration level low as I avoid attacking a whole painting.  I mixed with a palette knife to develop that skill again.

If warranted I often squeeze out both Yellow Ochre and Red Oxide tube colours.  This seemed appropriate when earth tones dominated my concept for the painting at hand.  So lets see if I can mix these two from my three primaries plus white - a light paint load for my plein air kit.

Yellow Ochre Mix

So in a few seconds I mixed a close yellow ochre.  Started with Cadmium Yellow, then stepped (greyed it down) on it with some violet (Ultramarine Blue plus Alizarin).  To lighten I added a bit of Titanium White.  First shot success!

On the Way to Red Oxide

Here you can see that the Yellow Ochre mix is real close to yellow ochre from the tube.  To go to Red Oxide I added some Alizarin to some Yellow Ochre mix.  Needs the complement to grey it down.

A Red Oxide Mix

You can see the result of adding Ultramarine to the reddish mix.  Pretty close to the tube red oxide.  So, I can mix these earth tones and eliminate them from my pack.  Later I'll show the light weight pack itself.

Seems I was on for this exercise, good news.  Took only 24 minutes in the studio.

From the first exercise in this series you will recall that the limited palette cannot produce certain colours.  I will explore this next.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Comeback 2 The Greys

For this session I added Cremnitz (Blue Ridge) white to the palette.  The idea then was to mix with brush and or knife to avoid the more complex.  Greys and semi neutrals are central to my painting so mixing should be enough for this session.  That will give me time playing with the paint, the brushwork, and the colour.  And I'll get to experience the difference between Titanium and Cremnitz white.

The Setup

Today the brush felt more familiar in my hand and I was more aware of the feel of the paint.    Brushwork did get a bit better.

A Cool Grey From the Primaries

I marked out some 8x10 spaces on a piece of used masonite.

8x10s For Future Use?

Just filling these spaces with mixtures gave me some low risk exercise with paint.  I know that the complexity of a painted image might be discouraging at this stage.  Too much decision making, too much concentration.  So the greys with the two whites.....  My Teacher would be proud.

Greys and Semi Neutrals

The top two 8x10s are tints using titanium white.  The bottom two were mixed with Cremnitz.  The Cremnitz is more transparent and I use more of it.  It gives sophisticated mixes in infinite close variations.

50 minutes in the studio but less fatigue.  Some progress!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Comeback 1

Sunday I squeezed out the primaries with the idea of just playing with some paint.  No attempt at putting the whole brew together.  That will come later.

The setup

Primaries keep the decision making process simple.  My primaries are Alizarin (RGH Paint , you tube it), Cad Yellow Medium (Stevenson - Great Value), Ultramarine (Blue Ridge - Hand Made), and Titanium white (Rembrandt - Creamy white with good coverage).  I set out two brushes, a #12 Stevenson Hogs Bristle Flat and a #4 Rosemary Hogs Bristle Flat.  And a few palette knives.  These have been the basic tools of torture for me.  So I thought I should get the feel of them in my hand.  The feel was both familiar and good.  So I mixed the possible colours.  The brushwork and knife work was tough and lacking.  Felt very awkward.  Glad I didn't try more complexity.

The Colour Gamut

The possible colour mixes, such as they are, are shown on a colour wheel.  The areas that are inside the circle (various neutrals and semi neutrals that are key players in painting the way I do) without paint are not possible with this simple palette.  If I want colours there I have to add tube colours of maximum chroma in between the primaries (later session).  That complicates the mixing decisions.  I'm in enough trouble without that.

Slapping it On

Here I am just getting the feel of brushing on various mixes on a piece of gessoed masonite.  My feel of the paint was almost nil, and I'm quite a tactile person.  Brushwork still poor.

Wet in Wet

Then I continued to paint a second layer in 8x10 spaces.  Feel the pickup from the wet first layer.  You can see a few drips and sags.  At least I could get those.

The total elapsed time in the studio from music on to brushes clean was 50 minutes.  Nap time.

Stay tuned.  Yup, use it or lose it.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Long Hiatus

I started painting 20 years ago.  My teacher immediately encouraged me to paint often if I wanted to make progress.  As a Sunday morning painter I didn't get it.  As time passed and I got past the discouraging beginner's blahs I began to paint more and more.  Then after a few years I was up to 7 days a weak, vacations included, at least sketching, stretching, or reading if not painting.  After a few years of this intense activity my teacher actually gave me a complement!  So I took some time off.  A week or so.  After all, I had arrived.  Then I went back at it and to my surprise I couldn't seem to do anything well.  The worst decay was in my feel of the paint going on.  But drawing, seeing, coulour mixing and sense, composition and so on had all gone down the tubes.  My teacher smirked "I told you.  You have to start near the beginning again".  Great news, but he was right.

Temptation from The Studio Window

Big Snow at the Forks 2014

At this time I have been off the brush since an October painting trip to Algonquin Park.  Four months.  Since then I was diagnosed with cancer.  Treatments started in January.  Now I'm feeling good enough to want to start painting again.  I wonder what I'll find?  My teacher is helping me put together a plan of attack to try to avoid being discouraged.  Some pretty mundane activities to start, clean my brushes from October, tidy up the studio.  Then some simple palette paint playing.

I'll follow the come back attempt here.