Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Grey Toned Paper Palette

I found a new product that I am seriously excited about. Jack Richeson Co. Has started to make a paper palette that is toned grey. I'm surprised that it has taken so long for someone to make one of these.

Painting on a neutral grey toned palette has long been a preferred method for oil painters, it allows for more accurate color mixing, especially when your canvas is toned the same color. However, up until now painting with a toned palette has meant that you had to use a wood or plastic palette, which you have to clean.

Ok, maybe for most artists cleaning a palette isn't such a big deal, but for me it is a waste of the very small amount of time I get to paint each day. I'm also lazy and I really hate cleaning. So for the past few years I have been using paper palettes that I can just throw away (I also have a semi-disposable brush system) Unfortunately I really like to work on a toned surface which has made mixing on the bright white paper palettes a little annoying.

Now, my problems are solved, I really can have it all. Grey Matters (TM) is a pad of paper palettes that are toned a neutral grey. They come in 50 sheet pads in two sizes, I got the 12x16 one. So far I've only found it at one store, the Art Supply Warehouse online. I actually looked on Richeson's website and couldn't find it. Hopefully it will be carried more widely later on.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Portrait of Caroline

I have recently begun a new portrait from life. It is the first time that I have been able to work primarily from a model in quite some time. Lately it seems that I only get a sitting or two, just enough to take some photos and do a small study. While I still will be unable to spend as much time as I would like working from the model, this time I will have about 20 total working hours, which is more than I've done in a while.
I'm 3 sessions in right now, each session is lasting about two hours. About as long as my kids will nap. The girl who is sitting for me has been babysitting for me this summer so I can paint a couple of hours a week, when she gets the little ones down for their naps, she then comes and models for me.
The first two sessions I worked on the drawing, charcoal and white chalk on toned paper. I'm working with a combined sight-size/comparative technique that I've settled into for drawing over the past few years. The piece will be life size, on 16X20 canvas.
The third session I finalized the drawing, double checking my measurements and angles and then I did a small color study to set my palette. I've decided to work with a fairly limited palette on a toned canvas. So far I'm using Titanium white, Ivory Black, Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre Pale, and Cobalt Blue.

Composition in Red and Green

8X10 Oil on linen. I'm afraid that my photography skills are somewhat lacking, this photo doesn't quite do the painting justice, but it will have to do. I just finished this painting today and overall, I'm pleased with it.

I ended up taking it off the easel a little sooner than I would have liked, but as I tried to get more and more detail into the finishing process, I realised that I had made some fatal errors in paint application early on. The surface of the paint was too rough and choppy to put in the fine detail that I wanted.

Although I have always been aware that the early layers of a painting are of utmost importance to later work, I suffer a terrible impatience that generally works itself out in hurried brush strokes when I should be the most careful. So as a result I have a painting that is nice, but not quite as finished as I was striving for.

I have decided to paint a series of small still lifes this winter, 8X10 - 11X14 with 1-3 items in them. My goal is to bring each one to a higher level of finish than the previous. When I am satisfied that I am consistently producing work of the quality I want, I will then paint another larger more complicated still life.