I've been resetting my oil color palette and doing some research about pigments from the 19th century. This was all in response to a recent portrait that I started that didn't turn out well at all. I had been using a "modern" palette of colors, which left the painting feeling incredibly heavy and garish. This got me thinking: "Will the pigments I use have an affect on the outcome?" The answer is absolutely yes.
The materiality of art has an impact on the final outcome. This doesn't mean that if you buy some classic pigments then you'll paint like Rembrandt. But, if you're interested in old master painting and 19th century works, you're missing a piece of the puzzle by not studying the pigments used by those artists.
I used to think that I had to fit in to the times I live in. That I had to be a part of our age in art. The truth is that time is cyclical and not linear. You're not old fashioned because you use time-tested and proven pigments versus the "modern equivalents".
I'll give the example of titanium white Vs. silver white. Titanium white is an incredibly heavy and opaque pigment and will leave your flesh or other tints feeling chalky and dull. If you look at painting with silver white (which is a combination of zinc white and lead white) there's a pearlescent quality to the mixture (especially useful for flesh-tones). There's no comparison between the two different whites. I'll say also that part of the translucency of older paintings comes with age because pigments become more transparent with age, but silver white, flake white and a few others will help to give you that effect.
Take what I say with a grain of salt and test out your own colors and see what works for you. I'll share my current palette below. Yes, some of the pigments are newer, but this is what works for me.
Basic Classical Palette:
-Chrome Yellow Light
-Chrome Yellow Deep
-Rose Madder Lake
-Madder Lake Deep
-Veronese Green (Emerald Green)
-Van Dyke Brown
-Cadmium Yellow Light
My family and I went today to the New York Historical Society to check out the Norman Rockwell exhibit, which is currently open until September 2018. The exhibition was spectacular and showed a wide variety of Rockwell's work. I've been a big fan of Rockwell for a number of years and it's always cool to see his work in person. It's hard to get a sense of how the paintings look in person, but they are very thickly painted! I've seen his work in person before, but it's always surprising to see how different they look in person vs. in a photo.
While we were at the New York Historical Society, they also had an exhibit of historical footwear, which was really cool. And they had a collection of Tiffany lamps as part of their permanent collection. It was really really cool. I tried to capture it in a video below. ⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇⬇
They also had an awesome part of the exhibit where you could choose and change the colors of a Tiffany lampshade. So I designed my own shade!
I've been doing a lot of watercolor sketches lately in a small watercolor Moleskine that I picked up from Dick Blick. I'm really falling in love with watercolors. I love the way you can capture reflections with watercolor in a different way than oil painting. Oil painting allows a lot more manipulation of the paint; watercolor painting is more fragile and doesn't allow as much messing around. I think watercolors have a more poetic and transient feel to them, which I also am constantly trying to understand.