Sunday, August 30, 2009

Why Use Payne's Gray?

Payne's Gray Color Chart
Every artist struggles to mix vibrant grays, which is an oxymoron, because vibrant and gray aren't exactly sympatico. But if you've ever tried to mix them, and ended up with a pile of mud, that is, muddy gray, you know what I mean.

I decided to explore the quality of Winsor & Newton Payne's Gray oil paint. It's transparent, according to the WN color chart, with blue undertones from the copper phthalocyanine pigment it's made from, along with carbon black. (Color index: PB29, PBk7, PB15)

I made a half tone by mixing 1/2 Payne's Gray and 1/2 Titanium White, then made a similar half tone from every color on my palette, then mixed the Payne's Gray half tone with each of my color palette half tones. The result; a series of muted, yet vibrant grayed colors, as you can see in the third and sixth rows of my color chart.

I imagine that muting these grayed colors with additional white will give me a series of grays that have many uses: sky colors, white fabric colors, shadow colors, etc.

I've added Payne's Gray to my palette in place of black. I think it will be a good addition!

But I still have one question, why did Winsor & Newton name it 'Payne's Gray?'

~ I will keep the brush happy in my hand! ~

Friday, August 14, 2009


I should know better than to try and paint without using Artguard! It coats your hands with a rubber-glove like film that prevents paint from staining or penetrating your skin. I try to use it every time I paint. On some days I paint in three or four sessions, so I wash it off in between and reapply.
It's tricky to use the right amount. If you use too much, your hands are slimy, not enough and you don't get enough protection. I use a dab the size of a quarter, and don't put much on my palms, just the tops of my hands, sides of my fingers and fingertips. That way my palms aren't sticky, or sticking to anything. Since I don't usually get paint on my palms, I get it on my fingers, it works great.
Artguard is made by Winsor & Newton. The product description on the Web site says:
A light, non-greasy cream which, when applied to hands before working, forms a
protective barrier against all types of artists' materials. It can be removed
with soap and water or Artgel and also contains moisturizers to condition the
skin and hands.

A jar lasts forever!

~ I will keep the brush happy in my hands! ~

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Gridding and Transferring Rhododendron Explosion

Oh my aching back! I'm transferring the 12" x 24" Rhododendron Explosion study onto my 48" x 96" canvas. Square by square; using colored pencils. I'd drawn the grid previously, using a grey colored pencil. I managed to finish the transfer this weekend, so now I'm ready to paint, that is if I can stand up!

However, before I start painting I have to finish another, smaller rhododendron painting, which will serve as the catalyst for this one. I'll work out the painting in steps: blocking in, connecting shapes, adding detail. Then I'll know for sure that my steps will translate into a workable method for the larger canvas. At least that's the plan.

Previous steps:

Final sketch, color study and transfer grid
Sketches and color studies
Canvas preparation
Canvas stretching and stapling
Canvas frame

~ I will keep the brush happy in my hands! ~

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Shape Studies for Rhododendron Explosion

Sketch #1 - top
Color and Shape Study #1 - second
Sketch #2 -third
Color and Shape Study #2 - bottom
Final Sketch and Color and Shape Study
Small studies for my big painting: Rhododendron Explosion, 48" x 96. I started by sketching a couple of rhododendron shapes onto tracing paper, then tracing the design onto watercolor paper so I could block in the shapes with gouche to see how they look-yuk.
I started over, including more rhododendrons. But I still didn't like it. It didn't seem dynamic enough to enlarge Finally, the third try worked, and that's the design I'll transfer to the canvas.
Here's the canvas frame.
~ I will keep the brush happy in my hand! ~