Using this red and blue combination with some bit players added for contrast, I built the above painting, “After the Rain”, 12″ x 16″ on cradle board. And in the photo below, I present my latest palette for landscape painting.
For a while, it’ll be three colors and three colors alone. The same three colors over and over to create paintings with rich and varied color. I’ve been focusing on teaching “limited palette” classes lately. So I decided I would try it myself.
I limited my palette to three colors plus black and white.
The three colors I’m currently using are Hansa Yellow Medium, Napthol Red Medium and Phthalo Blue (green shade) plus Mars Black and Titanium White. The painting above uses all of these colors. Each mixed color contains a little black to dull the intensity then as much white as is needed to create the tone/value I want.
The limited palette is a great exercise to force you to work with values. And it’s amazing how varied the colors can be.
I keep books of color mixes. This photo shows one of the pages of just one of my books
with a toner added to the three current colors in my palette – Burnt Umber for some of the colors, Raw Sienna for others. The book is a great resource if I need a little nudge. Sometimes the color chips will be the start of a new painting.
And just to show you how varied your paintings can be using a limited palette, here’s a picture of a small still life painted with the same three colors.
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Maybe it comes from looking in the mirror every morning when I’m brushing my teeth, but I’m becoming partial to old stuff.
Distressed, crackled, stained, antiqued, I’m on a mission to age almost everything I touch. I’m eyeing the dining room furniture right now. The set came from my wife’s grandmother so it’s old already, but it still has clean lines and smooth surfaces. I want to change that.
So I bought a can of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Duck Egg Blue. My wife’s first reaction was “who would ever paint their furniture duck egg blue?”. But with a little antiquing, a little distressing, I think I’ll be able to win her over.
I’m starting small to convince her. I found this round tin tray in the same store where I bought the paint. I covered it with two coats of duck egg blue. Then, instead of ageing the tray, I added a contemporary stamped design on the floor and a wiggly black line of acrylic ink around the outside base. To create the stamp, I drew poplar trees on a piece of foam; cut out the foam and applied a metallic blue/green paint to the tree stamp using a sponge to create texture then pressed the foam, painted side down, onto the tray. That’s it! Real simple.
And my plan may have been successful. My wife purchased the bird cage at Michael’s and she made the table topper to match. Next step, the furniture. I’ll start with the inside of the hutch!
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The school photograph is from 1890 so the challenge was to make the rest of the painting look old as well.
But first, I needed to create a photo transfer of the original picture. I photocopied the picture and applied a coat a day of Golden Soft Gel medium for about four or five days. I brushed the gel medium right over the image. Once the gel was set on the last day I wet the back of the image and started rubbing to remove the paper. After two or three attempts at removing the paper I was left with a transparent image which I glued to the canvas with polymer medium. You can paint the canvas first, and the colors you brush onto the canvas will show through the photo transfer. But I left my background white.
Next came Golden’s Crackle Paste. I applied this with a palette knife and made it thick enough that the cracks would develop. A thin application won’t show cracks. The product recommendation is that crackle paste be applied to a solid background such as Masonite or cradle board, rather than canvas. But I’ve found that if I don’t apply the paste too thickly and I varnish the completed painting to hold everything in place, then I seem to be able to use the paste on stretched canvas.
When the crackle paste dried (after a couple of days), I again used a palette knife and applied Golden’s Light Molding Paste. I applied the paste roughly to get some ridges and valleys.
When all the mediums were dry, I took sandpaper and sanded back any spots that were too thick or too rough. I paid particular attention around the edge of the transfer.
Next, I brushed Payne’s Grey acrylic over the entire piece and immediately wiped the color back using a damp shop towel. The objective was to leave a darker value in the valleys and cracks.
I brushed a glaze of Transparent Red Oxide over the photo transfer then added some stamped, stencilled and collaged elements to complete the piece.
This painting “Bridgewater School” is to be part of a group exhibition at a local gallery featuring many of the old schools of the area. The Bridgewater building still exists and is used as a community center but most of the others have disappeared.
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Enough of frost quakes, ice sheets and layers of snow, I’m going Hot.
No, I’m not going anywhere tropical, I won’t be taking a cruise, I’m simply changing my color palette. Time to bring out the oranges, reds and yellows to warm my heart while I ignore what’s happening outside the studio window.
Here’s a start to my warm wanderings, appropriately titled “Hot”! It’s a 6” x 6” monoprint created using a Gelli plate, Rives BFK paper and Golden Open Acrylics.
With monoprints, I rely on serendipity to guide me to a final image. Seldom do I know where I’m going before I begin. And that means, often, a great many layers of color before I can say “finished”.
To help ensure that each layer is printed on top of the previous layer, I built this simple registration system that I wanted to share. It’s my Home Depot art jig – a piece of Melamine board; lattice strips and angle brackets. For the six inch and 8 x 10 inch Gelli Plates, I used a 12 x 14 inch piece of Melamine and attached lattice strips. Then I attached angle brackets to the lattice strips. The Gelli plate will butt up to the lattice strips. To ensure a white border around the print, I decided on the width of the border then measured that border distance from the Gelli plate and marked the spot several times along the top and side lattice pieces. I attached the brackets so that the inside edge of the bracket lined up with the marks on the lattice.
To use the registration jig, position your Gelli plate then tape off the lattice strips so you don’t get paint on them. Apply paint to the plate. Remove tape. Position the upper left corner of your paper into the angle bracket, making sure the paper edges also line up with the straight brackets. Print the paper. Remove the paper without jostling the plate. Then repeat for every new color layer. The print layers should line up each time. To help with paper placement, place a pencil mark on the back of your print to indicate which corner of the paper fits into the angle bracket.
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