6″ x 8″ oil on paper
I attended the first of a 4 session ‘Head Studies’ painting class last Saturday. I’ve accepted that I shouldn’t expect to make good paintings at a workshop, where you’re trying to paint using unfamiliar materials and techniques (although I have to really resist the urge to try).
This lemon study is an attempt to get more comfortable with the materials and palette we’ll be using in the class. The instructor, Gage Mace, has asked everyone to use a palette of White, Burnt Sienna, Ult Blue, Cad Yellow and Terre Verte and to use a Gamblin medium called Neo Megilp.
Neo Megilp is a safer alterative to maroger medium. It’s very different to work with than what I’m used to. I usually use only a little Gamsol for most of that painting and maybe little thinned down Galkyd Lite toward the end.
This painting was constructed by first toning the support with Terre Verte mixed liberally with medium. This creates a kind of waxy, buttery surface to paint into rather than onto. Eventually you end up with a surface of paint that you can really move around. I could almost move that entire lemon a quarter inch to the right by pushing the paint. It’s interesting but a little hard to get used to, as is the palette.
Another thing that is different for me is that, I’m used to putting in my darkest values first. Gage is encouraging us to put in the mid-tone darks and mid-tone lights first and work out from there. It actually makes a lot of sense in that, since the value range of a painting is compressed from life, you’re less likely to get outside your boundaries by working from the middle out to the lights and darks.
One more thing that he stressed, and I’m guilty of this, is that you’ll make a richer color harmony if you depend less on white to raise values.