Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thinking with watercolor

A good habit I have been trying to develop is working up an idea before jumping into painting on the canvas.  With still-life oil painting I usually do a small 3 x 4 inch black and white sketch, these cartoons help with developing the compositional lay-out.  But sometimes an idea needs more and that is when watercolors are perfect.

I had a photo from last summer, of morning light at the edge of a tree lined stream.  I want to paint it in oil but just did not know where to start.  So I did a quick wash in watercolor to get a feel for the colors.
Liked the rough wash so kept going.....
"Light at the Creek Bend"  14 x 11 inches
Available at DPWs
Working with the watercolors is a natural way for me to determine tone and edges, possibly because it is the medium I know the best.

After finishing this one, another idea came to mind, with all the materials out and ready, I just kept going.
16 x 20 inches watercolor
"Contemplation of Each"
With this one I wanted to see how hard it would be to free hand a mirror image.
Not a perfect (or even close to it) mirror image but it was great practice!  There was something fun and interesting about trying this, I was tempted to work with a brush in each hand....huh 
Think I see my next experiment :)


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cats, cats and more cats

A friend ask me to paint her daughter's cat.  I told her give me photo and I will work one up.
Well I got a couple photos, and they are "challenging" photos :)  Decided to dive in and give it a try.
Because the photo was a little rough, decided to go to my comfort zone media;  watercolors.

Pulled out a full sheet of watercolor paper, divided it into quarters, and just dove in.
Have a personal favorite out of the first 4 paintings,  and found myself really enjoying working with the watercolors.
Having fun and not really sure this was one my friend would like, pulled out another sheet, divided it up and did some more.  Also decided to work up at least one of my photos for my self.
By the time I was on the second sheet, ended up with two that my friend will probably like.
By now I was on a roll and just wanted to keep going....
Think my friend did me a favor,  got me going on watercolors that I had been ignoring for some time.
This is where I stopped today.
11 x 14 inches, Over the Shoulder.
Added this one to my DPWs site.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Using all the paint

When I am painting there is always paint left on my palette.  If it is acrylic, no big deal, let it dry and peel off the paint skin for collage work, watercolor let it dry it can be rewetted later.  But when it is oil I just have to do something with it.
Sometimes I start a new painting using the left over for my rough sketch.  Other times I just play.  The photo above is an example, some doodling with left over oil on some Arches oil paper.  Kind of liked it it so I saved it.  After the next painting I finished added that left over oil to the doodle....
So far so good, did the same thing after another painting.....
Ok now this doodle is getting serious, decided to finish it up as a painting...
Once this is dry I plan to mount the oil paper to a panel.  That is unless anyone has any info on how to frame Arches oil paper, I am new to this material.  Any suggestions please send them my way, would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

About Alkyd Oils

"Sunflower Mini" Oil on canvas panel, 7 x 5 inches
Click here to bid in auction

Thought I would share my views on Alkyd oil paints.  Alkyd oils are fast drying oils that I enjoy.  After painting for many years in watercolors and acrylics, the drying time for oil painting drove me a bit crazy.  Alkyd oils dry  to the touch in a day instead of several days.  After finding these paints I tried several types; Gamblin FasMatte,  C.A.S.,  Griffin Alkyds, and Da Vinci.  Each has pros and cons.
My favorite is C.A.S AlkydPro.  CAS has the highest pigment load, a professional level.  The paint is smooth and creamy and has mediums available for thick application.  The oil base is a sunflower oil alkyd resin which I prefer to linseed.  CAS is also the fastest dry of the brands I have tied. The down side is paint will form a film after opening.  You will need to keep a large nail handy to brake through the film with following uses.  Copper study was painted with the C.A.S.

My Second favorite is Gamblin FasMatte.  The pigment load is a bit light than CAS, but the paint dries to a matte finish, which visually makes it easy to determine color.  FasMatte dries completely matte but you can finish it with any varnish you like and change that you choice.  Sunflower Mini was painted with the Gamblin.

Next is Griffin Alkyds,  there is a noticeable difference in pigment load, about if you are use to Winsor Newton paints it would be fine.  Griffin has a semi gloss finish when done.  On the bright side they are the most reasonable priced.

The last brand is DaVinci,  I was not satisfied with this brand because I noticed a slight color shift after drying, and I am very fussy about color.  Not all the colors shifted, seems to mainly be a few of the blues.

If you are an Acrylic painter thinking of trying oils, but avoid it because of the drying time (like I did), this type of oil paint my be something you will like.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sparking creativity

Dusting of Rose, acrylic
If you ever need a spark to get yourself creating,  just start sorting your art supplies.   I set out the other day to clean and organize my studio, and before I knew it I was painting.  Found some paint I had forgotten about called Polycolor.  It is an unusual paint, the best way to describe it is slick.  I did a quick sketch and while it was wet, did a mono print of the the paint sketch.   Polycolor is thick and wet enough it worked well for mono printing.
 Then I proceeded to work up both paintings.
Rose Red, acrylic on watercolor paper
What is fun they both ended up different even thought they started from the same paint sketch.

One word about polycolor, I like it because it is slick and yet a strong covering paint,  but it does separate and needs to be mixed before you start painting.