Art, Painting, Sketching

Plein air practice

This is a quick little sketch I did to try out the pochade box I built.
Plein Air Pickup

I’ve always dreaded dragging a lot of stuff with me to paint and therefore, with the exception of ink and watercolor, I’ve stuck pretty much to painting in the studio. Now that I’ve built this box I have no more excuses for not going out into the world to paint.

pochade box 2

Excuses, however, are a specialty of mine so we’ll see…

Art, oil painting, Painting, Sketching

Camera and Plucots

Ever heard of a plucot? It’s a cross between a plum and an apricot. One of these may be a pluot, which is apparently a similar cross but one is more apricot-like and the other more plum-like. In any case they were fun to paint.

Camera and Plucots

6.5 inches x 8.5 inches oil on gessoed paper

I’ve expanded my palette a bit. I was having a lot of trouble achieving a full range of values and intensities using a strict limited palette. For instance, I can mix a range of colors from yellow to red using alizarin and yellow ochre, but if I want a lighter value I have to add white which lessens intensity. I can get a lighter value higher intensity yellow using cadmium yellow light. Anyway, I’m learning a lot from these little sketches.

It occurs to me that I should have learned this stuff years ago when I studied painting in college. It’s easy to blame the curriculum or my instructors or the times. The focus, in the 1970s, when I was in college, was on content, not on the fundamentals of constructing a painting, etc. There may be some truth in that, but it’s also true that my focus, as young man, was more on beer, women and the bohemian lifestyle than on learning to paint. As they say, youth is wasted on the young. Ces’t la vie.

Art, oil painting, Painting, Sketching

When Life serves you lemons … paint them

A couple more small oil studies here. The first one was done a little while ago and I’m a little concerned that the yellow colors are taking so long to dry. I use Gamblin oil colors and the yellow in this one is mostly Indian Yellow. I expect some paints to dry more slowly than others but it’s been weeks and it’s still not dry to the touch.Lemon and Power Drill

5 x 7 inches oil on gessoed paper

I used the limited palette I mentioned before for the sketch above (indian yellow, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, pthalo blue and white) I think I may have added a little pthalo green as well here and there.

At the suggestion of landscape painter Elio Camacho, who was kind enough to visit and make some very instructive comments, I did the painting below using the palette he suggested (yellow ochre, alizarin crimson, viridian, white and mars black.

Lemon in a Glass

6 x 4.5 inches on board

It was very interesting to paint with no Blue. (See Elio’s comment on my previous post for more details on how this works) To make things more difficult, I happened to choose a glass that had a beautiful blue edge at the top. It was pretty funny trying to paint that. There was no way I could match the colors I was seeing with the palette I had so I was forced to stick to painting the values and color relationships. I’m not sure Elio meant for me to try this with a still life like this but it was a fun experiment and I’ll play with it some more. I did cheat right at the end and used a little bit of a tint of prussian blue on the rim of the glass. Sorry, Elio.

Art, Painting, Sketching, Urban Landscape, watercolor

Yellow Warehouse

This warehouse is very near one of the other sketches I did recently.

Yellow Warehouse

I found another comfortable loading dock to sit on and had a pleasant hour sketching this warehouse. Occasionally a jogger or two would come by ruining the whole industrial thing and, to my mind, foretelling the future redevelopment of this area. There are lots of new townhouses and ‘lofts’ nearby.

I’m continuing to do small oil sketches using a limited palette. I’m sticking, for the most part, to alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, pthalo blue, cadmium yellow med, indian yellow and titanium white. I’m frustrated particularly with making cool blacks. I’ve resorted to using pthalo green and prussian blue a couple of times. I used to rely on prussian blue and sap green to make a favorite cool dark.

A comment on his blog from Elio Camacho warned against relying exclusively on adding compliments to a mix to create greys. I think that’s another weak point in my work.