Tuesday, March 16, 2010

20-minute practice

(about 8x10)
Another subject I like but avoid. This jade plant's on my drawing table. I love the shape of the leaves, but the way you can see leaves behind others and the way the light hits the surfaces of the leaves, some of which are vertical, some horizontal, makes my brain hurt, to quote Monty Python. I started this with the decision that I wouldn't concern myself with trying to retain the whites, where the leaves were lightstruck; I'd just try to get the structure. I started painting on the left (no drawing), where, I think, structurewise, it works; but I ran out of steam or lost my concentration on the right, where the too-straight stem is not pleasing. By the time I got to the pot, I'd totally given up!

(2x3 each)
Then I painted a few ATCs: I thought it'd be nice to include one of these in the package when I return the jobs I'm currently working on ... A little spring surprise for the wonderful people in New York City who keep me busy (and in art supplies ...).

Speaking of art supplies, the three rows below are the colors that are in my little travel palette; the fourth row shows various blues I'm thinking of adding, if I can wedge them in somehow!

Rummaging around over the weekend I found two old folding metal palettes full of half pans. The two rows on top are from a palette I bought after seeing Winslow Homer's metal palette at the Boston Museum of Art (must've been 15 or more years ago!)--I got a palette just like his and filled it with colors myself: so these are the colors I used when I first started painting more--so many blues, so few reds, and no purple. How did I manage?


And the four rows on the bottom are from a set I bought--and augmented with a couple of extra purples and turquoises. But the set, like, it seems to me a lot of sets, comes with too many--or more than I can use--earth colors.
I made these swatches to see if any of the pans were salvageable--I think several are. I'll get rid of a number the earth colors and pans that are too hardened (this may not be an effect of age: some pan colors just never become moist enough to get a brushful of color from them: very irritating!).
Now to take them apart and reassemble them.

Colors in Homer's "two extant moist watercolor boxes": aureolin, cadmium yellow, Indian yellow, chrome orange, vermilion, crimson lake, scarlet lake, Indian purple, Antwerp blue, Prussian green, Hooker's green, green earth, Indian red, burnt sienna, burnt umber, warm sepia, sepia, Van Dyke brown, Payne'sgray, bone black, Chinese white (Susan E. Stricler, ed., American Traditions in Watercolor, p. 65).
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6 comments:

Carol said...

Your palette colors are delicious! Thanks for the info on Homer.

A Brush with Color said...

Yum. Those colors on your palette are scrumptious, Laura! I love hearing what colors you use. I'll have to let Homer's colors sink in, too, as I think about his work--I have always loved his paintings, and I have a book of his images that's wonderful. I rather like your jade plant: it's abstract, especially coupled with the pot it's in. And I still have an ATC from you that you tucked into your beautiful painting. The ATC is in my office and I often think of you as I see it there.

Sadly, your second image is not opening for me here, after your first paint watches. Is it a photo of the palette you described? Anyway, lovely post with lots of good information!

AutumnLeaves said...

I think the jade plant looks lovely and that you've handled the sunspots well, Laura. I just get so excited by these little color splotches you do. I spend so much time mixing colors to look pretty in the pans (and hopefully on the paper) that I pay no attention to what they are like in the natural state...unless it looks like I need that color! LOL

Charlene Brown said...

Your awareness of colour really shines through in all your work. And the separation of all the greens and blues in your jade plant is brilliant -- really a much better reference piece on the various concepts than those usually found in textbooks!

truerecord said...

Quit disparaging earth colors. If you want to paint everything purple, so be it. Love ya.

Barbara M. said...

Hi Laura,

Your paintings are so beautiful, and I love the discussion of colours. My paints (watercolour) are all as hard as rocks. Even so you inspire me to try and paint with them from time to time. I won't be buying any, because my main love is acrylics right now. But those hard little pieces of paint sometimes yield some juice.

Love your work.

Take care,

Barbar

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