Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The limitations of our materials


Color mapping, Part 2
My road to how I taught myself color theory and how to mix paint.


So awhile back I started writing about my process of finding and mixing color, which I call “color mapping.” Now that I am teaching and find myself explaining my color mixing  process almost on a daily basis to my students I thought I should start sharing it here as well.

First off as I mentioned in the Munsell posting, I basically taught myself color theory by reading several different books, each one teaching me something different. The most important thing that I learned right off the bat was that we as artists have to learn to work within the limitations of our materials. With that said the book by Michael Wilcox “Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green” showed and explained to me the beginning of my understanding of color theory.



As you well maybe know the light that reaches earth is made up of several different electromagnetic wave lengths. The ones that we are interested in are those of visible light. Visible light can be separated using a prism showing us the different wavelengths that make up visible light. Each wave length vibrates  a little bit differently and when separated you can see the colors of the rainbow and when you combine them back together they create white light this is also known as Additive color theory model.



 
That is important to know but since we don’t paint with light we will concentrate on the Subtractive color theory model. This deals with physical pigment and the inherent properties of tubed color which will help you to learn the limitations of your materials.






The subtractive color theory model  states that as you mix your primary colors, red, yellow & blue, together in equal parts that they become darker and sometimes you can actually make your own black that is beautiful to use in your paintings. This type of thinking is what taught me to use the six color primary theory, I have two reds, two blues, and two yellows for my palette. Not every yellow and blue will get a really nice highly saturated green.

I’ll talk more about the subtractive color theory model, pigment particles and color biasis in the next color mapping posting. 

Other posts of interest:


 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The color that you can't see yet.


Work in Progress…

"Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Temporary title)"




Another one ready for paint! I finished up the under drawing for “Scissor-tail flycatcher (Temporary title)” yesterday and I am now looking forward to blocking in some color on this very shortly.



For me this painting is not about the bird but about the textures and color of the rust in the background, the color that you of coarse cannot see as of yet. A friend I were walking the fields of Oklahoma the last time I was visiting Tulsa and he was helping me find some oil pumps. I really would like to paint a couple of oil pumps, don’t ask me why because I couldn’t tell you any other reason other than I find them extremely interesting from a compositional stand point. Well, all the oil pumps that we found had a line that traced back to a retaining drum, not extremely large but large enough. We found this one which just looked like it hadn’t been maintained in years and I just had to paint it! Haven’t you ever seen something that YOU HAD to paint?!?

Anyway the rust is going to be made up of these amazing burnt sienna’s and cadmium oranges that will help to emphasize the orange and bit of red on the Scissor-tail flycatcher. 

Off to paint………..

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Not a usual perch...

 Two works in progress...

So I have started two more compositions before starting to push some paint on the previous two compositions that  I have ready.  I have these ideas bouncing around in my head and I just needed to get them down in my sketch book and worked out which inevitably leads me to preparing a board with gesso and then starting the under drawing.



The on that I am working on currently (above) is of a Scissor-tailed flycathcher from Oklahoma perched on the handle of a very large oil drum, agian from Oklahoma. Can you guess where this is going once its finished? This is not a usual perch for this bird but its the oil drum with all of its textures and the simple geometric shapes that it creates that interests me and thats why I am painting it. I checked with several sources to see if a scissor-tail would perch on such a spot and most of them said yes so I feel confident moving forward with this painting.

One other piece that is now ready for paint is the one below of a Lark Sparrow, again from one of my trips out to Oklahoma. This one measures 8 x 16 and is more simple in design but will be a lot of fun to paint!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Artist mumbo jumbo!


"Charleston Rooftop (Temporary title)," Oil on 1/2 prepared maple panel, 24 x 36 


As I said in the last post, I was itchy to get back top work on  this painting! Well the itch is temporaily satisfied with the under drawing complted and even with the painting being toned but it's not completly gone! I can't wait to get some color on this, the reference for this piece has some beutiful colors that just raidaiate!

Above is the toned under drawing, just a thin layer of  burnt sienna diluted with mineral spirits, brushed on to the prepared 1/2 maple  panel. I let the paint sit on the surface for about 15 minutes and then I start to pick out the highlights. To tell you the truth the only reason I do this is to get rid of the white of the gesso so that I can more acurately mix and paint my colors and it also gives it a more unifed feel. I know thats a bit of artists mumbo jumbo but it works for me!

Below is the finish under drawing before I lay in the thin coat of burnt sienna.