Monday, January 30, 2017

Portrait Sketches from January

8" x 6" Oil on Panel
It's challenging to get back into the swing of things after so much time away from painting during the holidays. The first two oil sketches are from the Wednesday night portrait sessions at Howard Lyon's studio.

8" x 6" Oil on Panel
The second model was the 13 year old daughter of one of the painters who attends the sessions.

The colors for these three portrait sketches was the usual limited palette I've been working with lately: yellow ochre, cadmium red purple, ivory black, and titanium white.

10" x 8" Oil on Panel
The third sketch is from the Thursday evening portrait session at Casey Childs studio. It was a short session because the sitter also had to be somewhere else later that evening. I wasn't aware of that until Casey announced the last sitting for the session. It ended a half hour early, but that's OK. I'm posting my sketch here anyway. I'm happy to have so many opportunities to work from life and see what other painters are doing.

For more about portrait sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "portrait", "sketching" or "drawing."

Friday, January 13, 2017

A New Model and a New Paint Color

8" x 6" Oil on Panel
It's been either too cold (5° F) or way too wet to paint outdoors. Haven't been to any portrait sessions for a few weeks and I'm eager to start painting from life again. The picture shown above is of my painting from last Wednesdays session.

This little portrait was painted with a three color palette, plus white. Colors used were: titanium white, ivory black, yellow ochre, and a new color - cadmium red purple.

"Cadmium red purple? Was ist das cadmium red purple?" you might ask. Well, let me explain. For plein air paintings I generally use a split primary palette, with one or two additional colors. Every once in a while I'll search for new colors to substitute for others in the split primary palette. In my search for a cool red alternative to alizarin crimson, I came across cadmium red purple. It sounded like it should work, but it didn't. Alizarin crimson is dark and "transparent" - qualities I need in that part of my plein air palette. Cadmium red purple is neither. So cad red purple became one of those unused tubes of paint that just took up space in my paintbox. That is, until last Wednesday. On that day the lighting, setting and model all had cool tones, so instead of using regular cadmium red, I saw the previously unappreciated cad red purple in my box and thought to try it. I think it worked.

I'm not saying cadmium red purple should be a permanent part of my palette. I probably could have gotten another red to work just as well at last Wednesday's session. But painters should step outside the box they're used to working in and try new things. When something new doesn't work as intended, you might later find it works just right for something unexpected.

For more about portrait sessions, go to "Labels" on the side bar and click on "portrait", "sketching" or "drawing."