Wednesday, January 30, 2019

My Palette

I have learned so much over the past few years as I've taken workshops and classes from so many different artists.  Each of them has his/her own preferred palette of colors.  Kevin Menck has 4 colors - titanium white, cad scarlet, cad lemon, and ultramarine blue.  Kathie Odom has 20 different colors - about 6-8 different reds, blues, and yellows. As I have painted more and more, I've settled on colors that I seem to use more.  I've developed the palette layout that works best for me. It's what I use when I'm at home or doing plein air painting on my own. When I take a class from another artist, though, I tend to use that artist's palette so that I can follow his/her guidance more easily.

I remember hearing an artist that I admire very much comment last year that he can always tell when an artist uses a limited palette because there isn't much vibrancy to the painting. I don't agree with that, but I DO enjoy more colorful paintings. I have proven that I can use a limited palette - and using one has helped me understand color much better.  However, for my own use, I prefer to have more color choices. I like having a couple of each primary color - plus a brown (burnt umber or Van Dyke Brown) and a black (Payne's Gray or Ivory Black), a yellow ochre, and light gray/blue.

On my palette, I place titanium white along the far upper right. Then across the top, I usually keep a cool and a warm red, and a cool and a warm yellow, and, on the top left side, I put a cool and warm blue. Although I can mix purple, I like to have at least one purple simply to save time and  make it easier. And last on the left side are a couple shades of green. The four colors along the bottom are what I call my "modifiers." I use them to modify (darken, lighten, cool down, warm up) other colors.

I keep those basic colors at these locations on my palette.  Then occasionally I switch out colors or add other colors, depending on what I'm painting.  This palette works very well for me.



#marycarolart, #artistpalette, #oilpalette, #limitedpalette, #oilpainting

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Across the Field

Saturday morning, I went for a long drive.  It took about an hour to drive around the countryside around Leiper's Fork looking for scenes to paint.  I was specifically looking for barns and fields - something similar to what we did in Kathie Odom's class last week.  It was too cold to paint outside - plus I was by myself.  So I was armed with a camera.  I took a bunch of photos, and after I got home, I decided to paint the scene below - which is actually about a mile away from my house on Carl Road.


I first did a wash of brown on the lower 2/3, and a purply-pink on the upper 1/3.  The image below is after I blocked it out and applied the first colors.

The photo below is where I ended things last night.  The issue I see is that I have the trees wrong.  I have it looking like evergreen trees when they aren't at all.  I deliberately cropped the photo so that there was a bunch of sky.  I wanted to do some dramatic clouds to practice what I had learned in Rachael McCampbell's class this past November.  So I made it a very cloudy day.


I have appointments all this morning and into early afternoon (dentist and hair dresser) - and then Disciple Bible study is tonight. So I will only have maybe a couple hours later this afternoon that I can work on it. Three things to work on:  Make the main barn bigger and more squatty - actually mostly just the lower right roof line, make the trees more realistic (not evergreen - although if it becomes too complicated, I can just leave them as they are - artistic license), and work on the sky to make it more interesting and dramatic.

I will take this painting with me tomorrow when I go to Knoxville for Kathie Odom's second mentoring session on Thursday. It will be interesting and helpful to see the suggestions she makes for this painting and also for the painting I did from the class last week.

Later note: Kathie had lots of suggestions for that painting. I don't think she found anything positive about it. Very disappointing. So much "critique" that it was more than I could deal with or even remember.  So I decided to just chuck it. I would rather wait till spring and take a pretty spring photo of that scene and paint that.

Much later note: Although looking at it again, it's not THAT bad. I think it can be salvaged.  I will work on it again eventually.


Artists and Professional Organizations

I joined The Chestnut Group (a mostly middle Tennessee Plein Air Group) a couple years ago.  It's a great group to join because there are so many wonderful artists in it.  I have grown as an artist enormously since I began signing up for their workshops and getting more involved.  The past few weeks I've started looking around at other art organizations that I could join.

There are some groups that are "invitation only," and so, of course, I can't join those. However, I looked for other art groups that allow artists to join who aren't professional and aren't represented by galleries. Thus I joined Outdoor Painters Society (associate member), and I applied to Oil Painters of America (associate member).  I had to submit two painting to OPA, and now I wait to see if they accept me or not.  (Later note) - I was accepted to OPA.  So now I'm a member of The Chestnut Group, and associate member of Outdoor Painters Society, an associate member of Oil Painters of America, and an associate member of the American Impressionistic Society.  I think that is more than enough!   I will look through member resources on each their respective webpages and see what help I can find.

It will be interesting and fun to see if those new relationships and memberships will help me improve my art as much as The Chestnut Group.

Update: 4/13/2019 - I also joined American Women Artists.





American Women Artists

Friday, January 11, 2019

Finishing Up and Touching Up and Varnishing

Yesterday's mentoring session with Kathie Odom really inspired me to work on my art today.

First, I finished up the painting I started yesterday in Kathie's class.  I'm really pleased with it.  It will be interesting to see what suggestions she gives me for improving it when I go to class next week.  Here's my finished painting.



Then I decided to do some repairs and improvements to three other paintings. First I took the painting below of Radnor Lake.  There were a few marks on the lake - probably from having the painting sitting around for so long. No telling how those marks got there.  I painted over them, and then did some other improvements to the painting.


Then I took the painting below - one that I painted when I was in Gatlinburg back in October.  When I showed the painting to my mother, she asked what that was in the lower left side of the painting.  I had FOURTEEN rocks in the painting. When Mother asked her question, I realized that it looked totally unnatural.  I had started painting rocks -because there WERE a lot of rocks - just not that many and only a couple large ones - but once I started adding rocks, I just kept going - and they kept getting bigger and bigger.  So I painted over eleven of the rocks and left just three in the painting.  I think it looks much better, and the rocks looks like rocks.  However, I still don't like the way the rocks look.  So I may work on it more tomorrow.


My next project was my second Radnor Lake painting.  The rail along the left side of the trail was too perfect.  So I put some plant growth over part of it to break up the line of the railing, and I worked on the trail a little, too. It's still not one of my favorite paintings, but I'm done with it.


Then, I decided it was time to varnish some paintings.  I took about 9 paintings out the garage and varnished them.  None of the ones above since they all have wet paint on them - but some of my others - some that I really like. So now I've varnished some paintings.  I need to take a bunch of my paintings out of their frames and varnish them and re-frame them.  That will be a project I work on over the next few days and weeks.

Overall, I had a really good day today.  I love it when I get "lost" in painting - and that happened today.  Several hours went by as I worked on the paintings above, and I totally lost track of time because I was so engrossed in what I was doing.  I was listening to an audio book the other day and it mentioned how one get to "flow" when the rest of the world is nonexistent as we concentrate on our art or work or whatever.  So today I was in my "art flow," and that's a good thing.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Winter Mentoring with Kathie Odom

My friend, Sheryl, signed up for Kathie Odom's 3-month winter mentoring program.  However, Sheryl had already planned to be out of town for all of January.  So I am taking the three sessions in January, and Sheryl will do the ones in February and March.  The sticking point is that Kathie lives in Knoxville, and that's where the mentoring sessions are held - at Kathie's home/studio.  Knoxville is a 3+ hour drive from Nashville.

So I drove to Knoxville yesterday (Wednesday), and all today was the mentoring session.  As soon as it was over (5:00 today), I drove back to Franklin.  It was a lot of driving - and I stayed in a hotel by myself last night, which was actually rather enjoyable.

The mentoring session today was wonderful.  Of all the artists I've met the past year or two, Kathie is the one whose work is most like what I aspire to for myself.  I love her use of colors and the general "look" of her art.  So I listened carefully today and did my best to emulate her work.

First we chose the photo use as our reference for today's work.  Here it is:


Not a great photo of the photo - it wasn't as bluish/hazy as this photo.  Then we had to sketch it in our sketch books and then do an underwash on our canvases and then sketch out the big shapes.  Here is my panel with the greenish underwash on the bottom and a purpley underwash on the top.


Then we worked on filling in big shapes with the correct values.  Still no color beyond the brownish one.


Then we began filling in color.  I got sidetracked with getting the far back hill on the right the right color.  I finally got it a decent blue/gray - but it took several tries.  Below is where I was at the end of the day:


And below is Kathie's painting at the end of the day:


I will finish my painting tomorrow and will post it here. I will also try to paint another similar painting from my own photographs in order to practice the things I learned today.

I'm looking forward to the next two weeks of mentoring sessions. Very worthwhile so far!

1/11/2019 - Here’s my finished painting






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