Despite the rain today, I was able to get outside and do a small painting. It's another study of reflections and I spent about an hour on it. I used a limited palette for this one and I've started to think about what colors I need instead of laying out a bunch of colors; this method saves colors and forces you to think about more creatively about color. Also, if you suddenly realize that you need a red or whatever color, then just put some of that color on your palette. The colors I used for this painting were the following: Silver White, Chrome Yellow Deep, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Van Dyke Brown and Ivory Black.
I'm practicing my art as much as I can and I'm feeling happier. I think of these paintings as capturing moments that I want to remember in the future. I've always felt that good paintings capture moments much better than any photo could.
I'm getting back on track with my art and I've been reading a lot recently also. I'm currently almost done reading a great book called "The Republic of Pirates" by Colin Woodard; the book covers the golden age of piracy (1715 - 1725)-- I highly recommend it as a great read. The other big component in my life is that I'm going to the gym very consistently, which has been helping me a lot.
I've been in touch recently with a good friend of mine who is also an amazing artist. He's inspired me to get back to work on some finished oil paintings. Yesterday, I toned a bunch of panels and a new canvas. I've been too lazy about painting lately and I really am feeling inspired now to make some new paintings. I want to do some portraits of my friends and family specifically.
I've still been sketching a lot recently, but I miss oil painting so much. I'm feeling more myself again lately and I owe everything to my friends. You have to have friends in life to make it through.
Current Full Oil Painting Palette:
- Silver White
- Naples Yellow
- Lemon Yellow
- Chrome Yellow Light
- Chrome Yellow Deep
- Cadmium Orange
- Yellow Ochre
- Raw Sienna
- Cadmium Red Light
- Rose Madder
- Alizarin Crimson
- Brun Rouge
- Burnt Sienna
- Emerald Green
- Cobalt Blue
- Ultramarine Blue
- Prussian Blue
- Cobalt Violet
- Raw Umber
- Burnt Umber
- Van Dyke Brown
- Ivory Black
I did a quick study of a house plant today with a new palette set up. This new palette is very similar to my usual palette, except with a few additions. I've added cadmium yellow light, cadmium red light, rose madder, alizarin crimson and prussian blue. I've also switched out venetian red for a brown red, which I like more.
I didn't have any cadmiums on my palette for a while because I felt like they were too powerful (same thing with titanium white). I added them back on my palette to add another level of intensity for my yellows and reds, which I really enjoyed. I still prefer silver white (zinc + flake white) instead of titanium, which I find to be too cold and chalky. Prussian blue is a color that I used to use years ago and I like having it back on my palette. It's basically a very deep greenish blue, that comes in handy for darker greens. I switched out Venetian red for a different earth red called Brun Rouge because Venetian is kind of a weird earth red that I didn't find useful.
I always want to stress that the colors you use should be colors that you find useful. For a beginner, it's good to try out a basic palette, but remember to keep testing out new colors and find colors that work for you.
I had a revelation this morning about the colors on my oil painting palette. I always spend a lot of time thinking about which colors to use and which colors I actually need. It's really hard some times because it's easy to get influenced by your artistic heroes and think that if you use the same colors, then you'll paint like them. The truth is that you should use colors that you like.
Of course, the only way to figure out which colors you like is to test out a bunch and then figure out which ones work for you and which ones don't. I'm attaching a picture of my current palette below, which is combination of colors that work for me.
Always remember that you can tailor your palette for specific subjects. For instance, if I'm painting a landscape with a lot of greens and blues, then I'm not going to put out all my reds because I don't need them. You could argue that you could mix reds into your greens to neutralize them, but I don't mix color that way so I know I don't need them. And, if suddenly, a red bird lands in the scene, then I can just put a little bit of red on my palette.
What I've realized is that it's good to learn about what colors artists of the past have used and to test out those colors as a guide. But to progress as an artist, you'll need to think for yourself and see the world with your own eyes. You'll eventually realize that the colors you use don't actually matter that much. And if you've practiced enough, then you can make a great painting just using the most basic palette!
*Many of my readers may know this, but I'm colorblind so I've spent a lot of time studying color for this very reason. Also because of this, I set up my color palette in a unique way that works for me. I always encourage everyone to work in your own style and always experiment with color!