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 think every artist knows the feeling of overworking a painting or a drawing. And this is something that I've wanted to write about for a while because I think it's the difference between professional work and amateur.
If you like the freshness of the work by artists like John Singer Sargent and Sorolla, then I'm going to share some of my own insight about how to avoid overworking a painting.
1. It's better to leave a painting slightly unfinished, instead of working something to death. The painting will look worse if you get finicky with the color and overall painting. It will lose the freshness and spontaneity that you want.
2. Stay far away from your subject! What I mean by this is to not get too close to whatever you're painting. This is easier when you're painting from life, but if you're using photos on your computer or phone, then DON'T ZOOM IN. I know it's tempting to zoom in and see every detail, but trust me when I say that it will only make it harder to paint. Details in a painting are always secondary to the larger value structure and composition.
3. Don't mess with it. This is always easier said than done, but you must learn to leave the painting alone. This is especially true when you're working with watercolor because watercolor painting is very fragile. Never use two strokes, when one stroke will suffice.
So this is what I've been thinking a lot about recently, and I hope that it helps shed some light on this really important topic. Remember to keep painting, keep practicing and have fun!
Scroll down for photos!
I just got back today from a weekend beach trip with my family and two of my best friends. I did some pencil sketching on my trip but I really missed my oil paints. I got back home early enough today to do a quick 6" X 8" oil sketch. The sun was going down fast, but I always love the evening and dusk so I wanted to do a sketch during that time of day.
For some technical information: here's a list of the colors I used for this. Starting at the top right of the palette and circling counter-clockwise:
-Chrome Yellow Light
-Chrome Yellow Deep
-Emerald Green (Veronese Green)
It's a pretty basic color palette, but you could also put out some ultramarine blue and cobalt and have a fully realized landscape palette. I was using a really small palette box so I decided I didn't need any blues or. Another note about colors on your palette: try and figure out what colors you really need instead of setting up a standard palette. And you don't really need as many colors as you think you do. Less is more.
I just finished a quick sketch of a golden retriever puppy and decided to do a step-by-step slideshow to show some of my sketching technique. When I'm drawing or painting, my main goal is to go from broad and generic to defined and detailed. I try and start with a general outline gesture to place the main components of the drawing, then I work on shading and go deeper with the detail. Since this was a sketch, it's not super detailed, but I like the way it turned out and hopefully it sheds some light on my sketching technique!
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