Saturday, March 23, 2013

Nosy Rosy

And a Workshop on Perspective

My weekly art class takes a month-long "spring break" in March, but our instructor, Charles Brindley,  held a workshop at his art studio in Adairville, Kentucky. It was all about perspective, a subject that has sometimes baffled me. We discussed two kinds of perspective, atmospheric and linear. 

"Nosy Rosy"
16x20 oil on canvas

Atmospheric perspective describes lines and objects as they move deeper into the picture. In other words, things in the distant background (like the grass in the painting above) will be less distinct.

Linear perspective, the kind that gives me fits, is absolute; it never changes. You find "eye level" in an object or scene. The further above or below your eye level, the more the horizontal lines slant. Lines above eye level slant down as they move into the distance; lines below eye level slant up. Eventually, all the lines meet at a vanishing point. Confused? So was I! The good news is that you don't have to have perfect perspective in a painting. Just have an understanding of the concept to make things "look right."

I painted Nosy Rosy several years ago and sold her at a local art show. In light of my recent lesson, I think the painting illustrates perspective. "Eye level" is somewhere between Rosy's eyes and nose so the wooden fence slants down as it moves farther away to the right. The wire below eye level slants up as it moves into the distance.

Clear as the mud Rosy was standing in???

Okay, I admit it... that grass in the background was NOT there in the reference photo, but Rosy and I like it better in the painting. Could we be hoping for spring soon?

I'm linking this post to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday because R is for Rosy! 

Jenny Matlock

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Where's the Beef?

Out strolling in Pa's field, of course! I finally finished my first painting from some photos I took of his colorful steers last fall. Then I went to the art store to buy another canvas for a second steer.
30x30 oil on canvas
So... there's beef in the field and on canvas, but it's also in my big blue Le Creuset pot. My daughter made these wonderful beef short ribs when I visited my new granddaughter. They were so good that I came home and made them for Pa. The recipe is easy. You simply brown the meat, add a few ingredients, and pop them in the oven on low heat so they cook slowly. Served over egg noodles, they are delicious! While they're cooking, I can paint another big steer!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Summer Memories

I finished another small painting of my granddaughters on the beach last summer. They were having a conversation when a big wave splashed over them. I wish I knew what they were discussing!
11x14 oil on canvas
It will hang in my daughter's guest room along with the painting below. I made a few changes to it and calmed the sea a bit.
11x14 oil on canvas
When my granddaughters see these paintings, I hope they remember the fun they had on the beach that day!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Basic Oil Paint Colors to Paint Anything!

 If you've been thinking of trying your hand at oil painting, you may have hesitated because of the price of artist oil paints. There are so many beautiful colors, but the good news is that you don't have to buy them all. With a few basic colors, you can mix any color you want! Here are eight basic colors... add some white and that's all you'll need to paint just about anything!

If you are buying oil paints for the first time, I suggest that you do not buy "student grade" paints because they don't have enough pigment and you will not be happy with them. You will eventually purchase "artist grade" paints to replace the "student grade" colors. Make it easy on yourself and buy the better paints first.

Some artists prefer a particular brand of paint, but two reasonably priced brands are Gamblin and Winsor Newton. Winton is Winsor Newton's "student grade" and as I said, spend a little more to get artist grade paints!

All the images in this post are from Artist Supply Warehouse's website.
They have good prices and lots of sales so it is a good place to order paints.
You may also like Dick Blick or Jerry's Artarama.

Every artist needs two versions of each primary color: red, yellow, and blue... a cool one and a warm one. The prices listed are for 37 ml tubes of paints. Some are Winsor Newton and others are Gamblin, both of which happen to be on sale currently at ASW.

My basic reds are Cadmium Red Light, a warm orange red, and Alizarin Crimson, a more bluish red.

Cadmium Red  $19.16
Alizarin Crimson $8.90

Basic blues are Ultramarine Blue and Phthalo Blue (a.k.a. Winsor Blue in the Winsor Newton Line). Ultramarine combines with white to make a beautiful warm blue sky. Thalo is a cooler blue which makes a lovely turquoise, but be careful... this color is very strong! 

Ultramarine Blue (Gamblin) $8.96

Phthalo Blue (Gamblin) $8.96

The basic yellows are Cadmium Yellow Light, a warm orange-y yellow, and Yellow Ochre, a cool greenish yellow. Both combine beautifully with Ultramarine Blue to make greens for trees and grass so there's no need to purchase a tube of green paint. Of course, you can add a little white to make a lighter green or you can vary the percentages of yellow and blue to get the green you want. Other interesting greens can be made by mixing either yellow with Phthalo too.
Yellow Ochre $6.47
Cadmium Yellow (Light) $19.16

Add to those six primary colors a couple of neutral browns and you can make almost any color you'll ever need. Burnt Sienna mixes with the reds to make wonderful wood tones.

Burnt Sienna $6.47
Burnt umber combined with Ultramarine Blue makes a great black so don't buy a tube of black paint. Add white to the mixture and you get shades of gray.
Burnt Umber $6.47
You will need to purchase white paint. Consider buying a larger tube since you'll use lots of white to mix with other colors. I like Titanium White which is more opaque. I also buy large tubes of Permalba brand white. I love the buttery texture of Permalba and it is more transparent so it makes a beautiful sky. If you do an underpainting of pink, Permalba allows a bit of that color to show through for a pretty blue sky with touches of pink!
Three 150 ml tubes of Permalba White $22.94

Amazingly, you can even combine a few of these basic colors to get beautiful skin tones... a little cad red, cad yellow, burnt sienna, and a good bit of white. Play around with the percentages until you get the tone you want.

I have a few other colors of oil paints in my box but frankly, I don't use them much. These are the ones I reach for, time and time again. As you can see, none of these colors is terribly expensive except for the two cadmium colors.

If you've always wanted to paint, please read my earlier post "Do You Wish You Could Paint?" I truly believe anyone can learn to paint. Like playing a musical instrument, painting takes practice, and lessons really help to improve your skills. I've been painting for seven years now... still learning and growing as an artist. I always thought painting required talent and I was reluctant to try it... but I can paint and so can you! Begin with the basic paints that I've listed above.

I'm linking this post to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday because P is for Paints! When you visit her blog, be sure to look at the beautiful signs Jenny paints! If you are an artist, I hope you'll add a comment and share your favorite oil colors too!

Jenny Matlock