I always prefer to work on a toned canvas instead of white and I wanted to share what I think is the easiest method for toning canvas. The way I do it now is that I take a small amount of ivory black on a cotton rag and add a touch of Gamsol and then I simple rub it gently with circular motions into the canvas. It's very simple and the best part is that it dries very quickly. I also like the texture that the rag makes on the surface to give it a little character so it's not a perfectly flat tone.
You can tone your canvas any color that you like, I prefer to use ivory black to make a cool gray, but you could also use burnt umber, raw umber and burnt sienna as some other options. I recommend using an earth tone because they're neutral, they dry fairly quickly and they're very stable pigments.
Next time you paint, test out some canvas tones!
This painting is going extremely well and I'm so happy that I restarted and am using my own style. I also set up my palette of colors based on the colors I like using. I don't like having a very complicated palette with too many colors because it makes painting feel like a chore. Painting should be fun (most of the time). Now I need to let this painting dry so I can oil out and paint again.
Here's my current color palette:
-Cadmium Yellow Light
-Chrome Yellow Deep
-Emerald Green (Veronese)
-Van Dyke Brown
I've been painting a lot of watercolors recently and have been using a wide range of paints. I've tried Jack Richeson Watercolor Sets, Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors, among others. I always found that the watercolors felt too opaque even when I did light washes of color. I knew something was just wrong with the way the paint was handling. I thought it was my own way of using the paint, but then I discovered Winsor & Newton's Professional Watercolor Pan Sets.
I had read that John Singer Sargent used Winsor & Newton pan watercolors, which prompted me to buy myself a set of half pan professional watercolors for Christmas. One of my first watercolor sets was a really small W&N set of 8 or so colors way back when I was an early teenager, but most of my watercolors lately have been painted using a Jack Richeson pan set.
The beauty of the W&N pan set is that the colors are light and transparent. They have a certain airy quality to them that I haven't found in other companies. The colors are very rich, even after they dry; I've noticed some other watercolors dry with a very chalky look to them.
Of course, with any art supply, it won't automatically make you a master painter. But it does really help to find materials that work for you. I want to emphasis that last part by saying that you should test out a bunch of different paints because you might not like this set, but you'll only find that out by painting.
Paintings below were painted using the W&N 24 color half pan set
*This is not a paid endorsement for Winsor & Newton. I am writing this as a fan of their watercolor pan sets.
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.