Sunday, May 24, 2009

Putting in order

Most beginning artists will quickly realize that in
order to work efficiently and effectively, one must
develop a good physical system for one's materials.
Grouping one's colors is an obvious way to work.
Here is a shot of a friend's colored pencils. Paint
tubes can be stored by colors in separate containers
which is what I do. Pastels present a unique challenge
because of their 'dusty' nature. I always have kept
mine in order in the box I have which has something
like 72 colors in it.
The goal is to be able to locate visually what you want
and quickly.
If you have your materials all over the place while working
which I often do, be sure to discipline yourself to put them
all back where they can be easily found for the next time.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


When you first start a painting, especially one that is
rather large (larger than 12 x 16) it is a good idea to
scribble! Get your tones worked out by just scribbling
in an area to start to give you the idea of how it will
look. Use very thin paint to do this. Don't be all
careful about it, just general areas scribbled in in the
tones and slightly stated color for that area.

Note: This painting will not have much strong color
in it, so the scribbled areas are pretty muted.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

More on edges

This is a lower area of a recent painting
where arms cross each other. There are
no sharp distinct edges. Sharp edges
draw attention. Here, I am
subduing the edges because this is not
the focal point of the painting. So be
careful where you place hard edges.


For me there is an almost instinctive choosing of
what edges I make soft and which ones are painted
with a crisp edge, a sharp demarkation.
Here you see the edges of the arm are soft and the
edges of the fabrics are mostly crisp and sharp. Flesh
is soft and so soft edges make sense in order to convey
this quality. The fabric elements seen here, are rather
flat and are one layer over another, so sharpness of each
edge helps convey that.
Often I will paint an edge 'hard' and then I will use a sable
brush to blend it and soften it up almost imperceptibly.
Sable brushes are mainly for such blending and softening
because the bristles are not stiff and will not move the paint
around much ~ just enough to blend things.

Storing my colors so I can find them!

There are a number of reasons why I have so much
paint! Of course I purchased a great deal of it myself.
But then I have also inherited some. A friend was
moving and gave me her supply, a neighbor's mother
passed away and she gave me that supply, a former
student's wife gave me his paint supplies after he
died. So now I have somewhere between 100 and
150 tubes of paint!
In order to find what I am looking for, I first did
a color chart which is posted earlier in this blog.
Then I separated the color families and here are
photographs of how they are stored.
It is important not to have too many different
tubes of color on your palette as it is too confusing.
So when I am going to start a new piece, I select what
I want and can find them easily.
I hope you find this helpful!

Warms and cools in the same color

Each color, as you look around the color wheel,
has a tendency toward warm or cool. Here are
some reds as well as an orange on the left. Cool
reds move toward blue on the wheel. Warm reds
move toward yellow on the wheel. Alizarin crimson
and quinacradone red are cool reds. Cadmium red
light is a warm red. In choosing paint colors for
a painting, look to see if it the colors you choose
are more warm or cool. Sometimes you will need
both. Often you do.