Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stapleton Kearns landscape palette

starting from the top going across to the right:
Titanium white (Lefranc & Bourgeois--all others RGH)
cadmium yellow light
cadmium yellow medium
cadmium red light
burnt sienna
cobalt violet
Prussian blue

and on the left descending;
Golden, or yellow ochre
ultramarine blue
Viridian, or sometimes pthalo green
Quinacridone red
Ivory black

Titanium white, the standard artists white these days, opaque and nonpoisonous, that white stuff on your lifeguards nose is titanium. Lefranc and Bourgeois makes a really nice titanium that's very reasonably priced. Some artists like zinc white because it's more transparent and they feel it doesn't overwhelm their colors making them chalky. Some brands of paint are a mixture of titanium and zinc and try to get the best qualities of both. Lead white is somewhat transparent as well, it dries more quickly than the others and handles better than the others. It gives a nice surface and is the white in all the old paintings in the museum. It is poisonous and is becoming harder to find.

Cadmium yellow light, or pale. Never buy a tube that says hue on it! A hue is some unknown pigments mixed up to look like the color you actually want. If you want azo yellow (or French's mustard) buy tubes labeled that way. Manufacturers sell these to students and hobbyists who don't know the difference. They won't handle reliably in your mixtures and lack pigmenting strength. Student grades of paint often are hues. Painting well is hard enough to do with the best of materials.

Cadmium yellow medium, more orange and warmer than the cadmium yellow light. I can live without this by feeding a little cadmium red light into my cadmium yellow light, but it is convenient having it and it helps me to get greater variety when mixing greens. There is a lot of variation between makers and some makers' cadmium yellow medium may be the same color as another makers' cadmium yellow deep.

Cadmium red light, this is an expensive pigment, but a tube will last you a long time. All the cadmiums are poisonous . Don't eat or smoke while they are on your hands. Never put these in a spray gun, and I would recommend you never work with this pigment in a powdered form (such as grinding your own paint, let the pros do that). Used responsibly they are safe. Most of the things in an artists' studio are poisonous to one degree or another. I was taught to paint with real vermilion in this slot on the palette, that is mercuric sulphide and is really, really poisonous and nearly impossible to get these days however it was a lovely color. When you see the blush in the cheek of a woman painted by John Sargent, that's vermilion. Often your red is going to be used to "step on " ie. modify another color slightly and vermilion did that nicely. There are some nice proprietary reds that are possibles in this spot on the palette. Sennelier red is a nice one. Rembrandt also makes a nice red in this range. I don't see a good replacement for the cadmium yellows but you may decide to choose a substitute for cadmium red light. The important thing is that this is a warm red, you will have a cool red on the other side of the palette.

Burnt sienna, is an absolutely wonderful color! It is inexpensive. Earth colors are (or rather were) colored dirt dug up in various places in Italy, and are mostly forms of iron oxide. They are made in the lab today and are, I think, far better than the real earth pigments. These are reliable, permanent and well behaved colors.They dry relatively quickly. I like to sketch paintings in with burnt sienna. Some artists who choose to use limited palettes and work on a chromatic palette don't use earth colors. Some of the western painters have popularized this approach lately. I will talk about limited palettes in another post. Oddly enough the old masters had just the opposite sort of palette and worked with three color earth palettes. There's a lot of different ways to skin the same cat, each has its limitations and advantages. My palette has both an earth color palette and a chromatic palette within it. Winsor and Newton makes a nice burnt sienna. Since burnt sienna is a relatively inexpensive color buy a good one.

Cobalt violet, an extremely expensive color. I love it, but I can't say you really need to have it. Its got a lovely sort of glow that no other violet has. Dioxizine has far more tinting strength. I feel dioxizine has too much in fact, and will actually stain the hairs in your brushes. Most of the proprietary violets on the market are dioxizine, often toned down to make them more manageable. You can mix your violets over on the other side of the palette with ultramarine and quinacridone or alizirin. Gamblin makes a less expensive cobalt violet and it is fine.

Prussian blue
, This blue leans slightly towards green. It is not a real popular color these days having been largely replaced with thalo blue. I use Prussian because it is more manageable, thalo blue being so much more powerful than the other pigments on your palette that it can be over assertive in mixtures. Many fine painters have relied on it though. Emile Gruppe used it extensively as the blue in his chromatic palette. Most of the proprietary blues labeled with the makers name are thalo.
Neither of these colors is particularly expensive so you may want to try a small tube of both. Like cobalt violet you may decide you don't need this color either.

Gold ochre, another earth color, this is a slightly more yellow version of yellow ochre. You probably want yellow ochre here. but you might check out the golden version, Some companies make a yellow ocher light and deep as well. Raw sienna and mars yellow both fit into this slot on the palette. Like other earth colors this is a dependable workhorse of a color and I could mix nearly the same hue from chromatic colors but its nice to have it there and ready to use, and there is a nice sort of "acoustic" look to the earth colors. I once bought a tube of Sennelier yellow ochre and it was dirty and weak. I realized that I was so used to our modern lab made versions of this color I was unaware of what the real earth color of the old masters was like. Rembrandt would be very impressed with my palette, I am not so sure he would be that impressed with my paintings though.

Ultramarine blue. I use a lot of this, after white its the color of which I use the most. Sometimes I take it off my palette just for disciplines sake. It is a slightly reddish blue. My palette has a warm and a cool version of each hue. Ultramarine is my warm blue, Prussian is my cool blue. I prefer the ultramarine deep or the French ultramarine when a manufacturer gives me a choice. Good ultramarine has clarity, cheap ultramarine is dirty. Quality ultramarine is like butter and cheap ultramarine is slimy.

Viridian green is a lovely bluish green that has become very expensive in the last few years. Its quality has also dropped, it seems to me that it goes gritty on the palette much more quickly than it used to or should. RGH makes one and though they aren't giving it away it is still affordable. Viridian mixed with a lot of white is good in skies and a tolerable replacement for cerulean blue which has also become very expensive. Lately I have been experimenting with Thalo green deep, I am not sure if I can live with it as an inexpensive substitute for viridian or not. It is of course much more powerful.

Quinacridone red, I was taught to paint with alizirin crimson and in those days it was a standard artists pigment. It had many faults, it had a bloody, blacky sort of a color and was impermanent and handled poorly. Some years ago manufacturers began selling Permanent Alizirin which was of course not alizirin at all. It is usually quinacridone. The ideal color for this slot is probably genuine rose madder. That is a wonderful color, rather than being bloody like alizirin, it has an organic roseate hue that is warm, clear and lovely like roses themselves. When I was on a three color palette this was my red. It is about 35 dollars for a 37 ml. tube. This is, in my estimation, the best argument for being rich. Sometime when you feel flush, treat yourself to a tube of Winsor and Newtons' genuine rose madder, it is like a good box pressed maduro from the Dominican Republic, one of life's' finest experiences. I should mention I suppose that it is not entirely permanant.
Quinacridone isn't cheap either but it is roseate in hue, permanent and dependable. If you buy a tube of permanent rose this is what you will get. It wont stomp on your mixtures like some of the other cool red pigments, delicacy is the" pearl of great price" in the cool reds.

Lastly, Ivory black.. A lot of outdoor painters eschew the use of black and there's a good reason for that. In the hands of tyros (now there's an antique word) it brings on disaster. It is not to be used to make the shadow note by adding it to the color of an object in the light. THE SHADOW IS A SEPARATE COLOR FROM THE LIGHT, AND NOT THE COLOR OF THE LIGHT PLUS BLACK! It is virtually always better to add the compliment of a color to any note to reduce it. Black is only useful when perceived as a color of its own. Sometimes painters talk about painting clean, for them black is an anathema. Another philosophy thinks of putting the right color of mud in the right place. I fall into the latter camp. If a color is too red I add green, if it's to yellow I add purple, etc. That's sort of like the difference between playing a fretted instrument and playing a violin (which has no frets) I play across the colors rather than clearly hitting only the separate notes in each octave. See what I mean? Now I have to write a post on compound color vs. simple color. I will label that post inominate color. I sometimes do small black and white studies for larger paintings.


pornstar pink

I was asked about the pink I was using. Since I tube my own colors, I can tube mixtures. My pink is my own homemade version of a color available from Williamsburg paints that they call Persian Rose. Persian Rose is a quinacridone rose (PV19; WN Permanent Rose) and white mixture (zinc) heated up with a shot of diperrolpyrroll orange (PO73; Winsor Orange). That gives it a hot undertone. It is the antidote for green though.
I call the version that I make Pornstar Pink. When you look at it on the palette it looks fluorescent. You would wonder what on earth I would do with a strong pink like that. Its enough to make a feather boa blush. Several of my artists friends are using my pink and when I make it now, I have to make about a quart. I can't easily describe to you how I make my version so I suggest you acquire a tube of the Persian Rose which is similar.
I manipulate my greens a lot, desaturating them, pushing them in different directions to get variety and installing warm notes. I push a lot of reds into my greens. In the summer everything is either yellow or blue or a combination of the two (green) so I smuggle red, I wrote a post about that here.
A thing to watch out for and avoid is chartreuse, in the summer it is easy to fill paintings with poisonous yellow greens and some painters have done that, their paintings get poisonous. A great variety of greens and a careful control of the yellower and cooler greens will usually result in better landscapes. Here comes my old joke again but I do mean something by it. "I want to make paintings the color of 500 dollar suits. What I mean by that is there are loud greens in nature that would never make it onto the racks at Brooks Brothers ( a local retailer known for their restrained taste and high quality). You may want to use those hues, but do it sparingly, if you do use an acidic color, make it an accent, allot to it the area you would a tie.

William Whitaker on classic palette

[I'm currently using a limited palette of Titanium white, Red Vermillion, Yellow Ocher, Ivory black...]

Your basic four colors comprise the so-called classic palette. To be 100% sure of the following information, I'd have to see your red-vermillion. However, if your paints are quality, I'm sure your red-vermillion is just fine too.

Mix some secondary colors.
Black plus yellow ochre = green.
Black plus white = blue.
Both those secondaries are good to modify and tone down your basic flesh of white, vermillion and yellow ochre. When mixing your basic flesh, start with white, add just enough yellow ochre to get the right pitch, then add a tiny bit of vermillion to get it just right. Add more vermillion and you get pink cheeks and even lips.

Now mix black and vermillion. You get a lovely dark brown. Use this unmodified for your darkest shadows in the nose, ears, and lip line. Apply it thin and transparent for your darkest flesh.

A useful color for turning your form from the light flesh to the shadow is raw umber. You can make a good raw umber by mixing black, yellow and a little red. Add white to it and it approaches grey.

Play around.

But remember, the best way to learn is to paint from life. Con a friend into sitting for you. I've done that for years, then given the sitter the results. If you are smarter than I am, you can sell the sitter the results!

Work in natural indirect light. Place your figure against a dark neutral background. (A piece of cloth will do.) This will give you Old Master light and shadows, which are the best for painting the figure.

I've posted a head I cropped from a fairly recent 10x8" painting on panel. (A lot of my current stuff is small.) I did this with a fairly limited palette. Remember, value is more important than color.

painting on wood

Does anyone have any advice on oil painting on wood (like plywood)? I like to incorporate the grain of the wood into the image itself, so white gesso isn't an option, and clear gesso makes it look "foggy".

You could do a shellac/renatured alcohol thing. It will tint it yellow though...
Or, you could oil it with a boiled oil wood finish until it won't absorb any more.
Or, you could use a commercial wood sealer.

Richard Schmid's Palette

* = always on palette

Winsor Newton
Cadmium Lemon*
Cadmium Yellow Pale
Aurora Yellow*
Cadmium Red*
Cadmium Scarlet
Cadmium Orange
Yellow Ochre Pale*
Terra Rosa*
Venetian Red
Permanent Alizarin Crimson

Cadmium Yellow Deep*
Transparent Oxide Red*
Cobalt Blue Light*
Ultramarine Deep*

Alizarin Permanent*

Titanium White

Cobalt Violet Light
(Transparent & Opaque)
Cobalt Violet Deep

Old Holland
Cadmium Orange
Lapis Lazuli Genuine

various traditional palettes

The Limited Classical Flesh Palette:
Flake White
Yellow Ochre
Vermilion (can substitute Cad Red Light)
Ivory Black
Burnt or Raw Umber (for monochromatic underpainting/drawing. The dark umber areas will remain uncovered, to act as transparent and deep shadow areas)
This is basically a red (verm.), yellow (ochre), blue (ivory black) configuration. The basic flesh mixture is the white and yellow ochre, with a touch of the red, and a smidgen of black to lower chroma, if desired.

Extended Classical Flesh Palette

Flake White
Naples Yellow
Indian Yellow (glazing)
Vermilion or Cad. Red Light
Red Ochre or Light Red
Rose Madder (A transparent color. Don't buy the any colors with Lake in the name, as they are not permanent)
Burnt Sienna
Terre Verte or Green Earth
Ivory Black
Classical palettes, idealy, are used in a layered technique, but alla prima is also possible and almost equal in the right hands (Rubens, Hals)

Complete Classical Palette
- as listed at http://www.ncartmuseum.org/monet/revolution1.html
Flake White
Naples Yellow
Indian Yellow
Yellow Ochre
Red Ochre
Rose Madder
Burnt Sienna
Brown Madder
Cassel Earth
Ivory Black
Ultramarine Blue
Prussian Blue

Modern Limited Palette (Higher chroma than classical, geared towards opaque, direct painting methods. A very, very basic landscape palette also.)
Flake or Titanium White
Cad. Yellow Light
Yellow Ochre
Cad. Red Light
Alizarin Crimson (trans., like a darker Rose Madder)
Cobalt Blue (or Cerulean if you prefer)
Ultramarine Blue (trans.)
Ivory Black
Here you have a high chroma, RYB scheme, with warm and cool variations of each color. Permanent

Extended Modern Palette

Flake or Titanium White
Cad. Yellow Light
Cad. Orange
Yellow Ochre
Raw Sienna
Cad. Red light
Cad. Red Medium
Red Ochre or LIght Red or Indian Red
Alizarin Crimson
French Ultramarine
Cobalt or Cerulean
Sap Green
Burnt Sienna
Ivory Black

The landscape palette

(taken from http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/2...parkhurst2.asp
'Landscape calls for pitch and vibration. You must have pure color and great luminosity, yet a range of color which will permit of all sorts of effects. The following will serve for everything out-of-doors, and I have seen it with practically no change in the hands of very powerful and exquisite painters. There are no browns and blacks in it because the colors which they would give are to be made by mixing the purer pigments, so as to give more life and vibration to the color. The Blackest note may be gotten with ultramarine and rose madder with a little viridian if too purple; the result will be blacker than black, and have daylight in it. The ochre is needed more particularly to warm the veridian'.
Stronitian Yellow
Orange Vermilion
Cadmium Yellow
Pink Madder
Orange Cadmium
Rose Madder
Yellow Ochre
Emerald Green (aka Veronese Green)

Monday, October 26, 2009

William Whitaker on flesh painting

from ConceptArt

I’ve been asked how I get my flesh tones – more specifically, Northern European flesh tone. It is mostly a factor of getting some early vital training, working for decades in natural light and from life, and of course endless practice. However, over the past month I’ve been amusing myself by trying to work out a simple basic formula that might help some of you. Today I did a little experimental oil painting and took photos.

My demonstration panel is a piece of 6x8 inch ABS plastic material. I carefully sanded the shiny surface off, then toned it with a little Mars Black thinned with odorless mineral spirit and alkyd resin. I let these panels dry as long as possible.

ABS is far superior to hardboard with acrylic gesso, and if the painting doesn’t work out, I can simply sand it off and paint a new one.

For practice work, I recommend ABS (I get it at a plastic wholesaler), or frosted Mylar, or high quality tracing paper. I did most of my early practice work on tracing paper. It doesn’t need to be prepared and the paint doesn’t soak through.

My medium is simply linseed oil. Nothing else. I keep it in an eyedropper bottle. Walnut oil is another very good oil. I’m not using resins or any fancy mediums currently.

I rubbed the linseed oil over the panel with my fingers. It won’t poison me.

I wanted only the lightest film of oil on the panel, so I followed up the rub-in with a quick wipe with a paper towel.

I added a little linseed oil to some of the stiffer colors. If I do my preparations right, I won’t need to add any additional oil or medium as I paint. My colors are the best I can buy, but I wouldn’t worry too much about paint brands and until you’ve mastered your craft, in fact, I wouldn’t use the most expensive ones.

I mixed the oil into the colors [on glass] using my painting knife, and then transferred the result to my palette.

The colors are:
Titanium White, Ivory Black, Transparent Earth Red (sometimes called Transparent Red Oxide) Raw Umber.

The grey is my special flesh tone I invented to save time. I call it Mary Sauer Flesh Color, after one of my students whose delicate pale flesh inspired it. It consists of Titanium white darkened with Raw Umber, to which I’ve added Terre Verte.

Next is Yellow Ochre, and then a darker flesh color made of Gamblin’s Caucasian Flesh Tone to which I added more Yellow Ochre and a little more Cadmium Red Light. Then follows Gamblin’s Caucasian Flesh Tone. For those of you who cannot get Gamblin Oils, the color is merely Titanium White to which Yellow Ochre has been added until you get a light yellow. Then add tiny bits of Cadmium Red Light and be careful. The red has a lot of tinting power and it’s easy to add too much and make this color too pink.

Next is Cadmium Red Light. I’ve learned to squeeze out very little color when I know I won’t need much of it. Then Permanent Alizarin Crimson, then a little Permanent Sap Green, and finally a little Ultramarine Blue. I don’t think I’ll be using the blue in this demo, so this is just an in case color.

I use old telephone books to wipe my brushes. I got this idea from Ken Davies in his still life painting book from the 1970’s. It’s saved me billions of dollars.

Rather than use my own reference material for this demo, I took advantage of the Internet and cropped and converted a shot to black and white from the mjranum stock photo site on Deviant Art here. http://mjranum-stock.deviantart.com/gallery/

The figure shots are excellent and large for download and printing. I got it in the Classical Nudes section, and it’s labeled dancers 1. Usually I do head demos, but I thought a torso might be more useful. I don’t need the color, so I made a black and white print. I think there is a whole section on Concept Art featuring useful figure reference sites.

I always try and use the biggest brush I can. I employ a Trekell long filbert #6 here. I think of my drawing as an armature. I try and get the big angles and shapes first. The oiled surface of the panel helps the brush glide. This is easier than drawing with a pencil! I like to work with a very light touch.

 About 45 minutes later, I had the drawing down well enough. My paint consisted of Raw Umber and Transparent Earth Red. Raw Umber is a fast drier and I add it to as many paint mixtures as possible to speed drying.


 I mixed Titanium White with a tiny bit of Yellow Ochre for my lightest highlights and put them on. Then I mixed a little of my darker flesh tone into my Mary Sauer Flesh tone and did some quick modeling with it. Then I mixed a background color of white, Raw Umber and Sap Green to give me a nice cool neutral around the figures.

Then I mixed a lighter flesh made of Mary Sauer and Caucasian Flesh Tone. I laid it on and made a few variations by changing the proportions of those two colors. I also mixed a ruddier color from Caucasian Flesh plus a tiny bit of Cadmium Red Light.

I think this is enough to show you where it’s going. Oil paint is much less messy than acrylics and almost as tidy as watercolors. I only rarely clean my brush out in my mineral spirits pot. Usually I just wipe my brush mostly clean with the paint rag I drape over my right thigh as I sit at the easel.

I might take this up in a few days and add a bit more too it. I like translucent/transparent colors and I like brushwork. It’s better if I stop before I think I should so as not to wreck the good parts. If I were to do one more thing to this demo, it would be to lighten most of the darker values a little.


Linseed oil in eyedropper bottle!
Titanium White
Ivory Black (Vasari)

Transparent Earth Red (sometimes called Transparent Red Oxide)  
Raw Umber
Mary Sauer Flesh Color: Titanium white + Raw Umber + Terre Verte
Yellow Ochre (Vasari)
Gamblin’s Caucasian Flesh Tone
Cadmium Red Light 
Permanent Alizarin Crimson 
Permanent Sap Green (Gamblin)
Ultramarine Blue

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

dos santos on tripod

*Tripods can vary greatly in price depending on quality.
Most of the pros I know use high end Manfrotto (distributed by Bogen in the US).
It's really solid, and also all of the hardware is metal, no plastic parts that break off.
A good tripod will last 50 years.
Also keep in mind that the camera mounts for the tripod (or 'heads') are often sold separately from the actual tripod when you get in the higher end of things.
A good head could cost you hundreds just on its own.

Though, I suspect since this is your first tripod, you are not looking to spend that much.

If so, I recommend getting a tripod with greatest height possible.
Many brands will offer a small, medium, large option.
The price between them is not that significant, but the performance is.
Definitely go large.
I recommend something that can go close to 6 feet.
If you ever start shooting portraits, you'll really want that height.

As Elwell said, you are going to want something sturdy, and that's not likely unless you are willing spend some real bucks.
Instead, look for a tripod that has a little hook beneath the adjustable shaft.
This hook is for hanging weights.
If you hang a heavy paintbucket from that hook, it REALLY helps to keep the tripod in place.
An accidental tap with your foot won't move it and screw you all up.

They also sometimes have nets instead of hooks.
I prefer hooks.

Lastly, make sure your head has at least 3 tilt options.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dos Santos on Bouguereau

[...] This is Bouguereau's palette as best experts can tell from x-rays, chemical analysis, and notes.
Of course, some colors changed over the course of his career, but this is a good approximation of those he used most frequently.

Bouguereau's Palette:
• Naples Yellow (lead antimoniate)
• Yellow-Ochre
• Chrome Yellow, dark
• Viridian
• Cobalt Blue
• White Lead
• Light Vermilion
• Chinese Vermilion
• Mars Brown (iron oxide); this available from Lefranc & Bourgeois
• Van Dyck Brown
• Burnt Sienna
• Ivory Black
• Bitumen
• Genuine Rose Madder, dark

As for your chalkiness issue...
try thinking of white as a cool color.
Thus, you need to use it sparingly in the highlight.
try to favor more yellow, or at the very least surround the white with warm colors so it takes on their appearance.
The highlights in the face you mentioned are very similar to a color I use called Nickel Titanium Yellow Light by Rembrandt.
Try it.
I use it as a substitute for white in the warm areas so as to keep them warm.
Then if I need it, I bump it up to white.

* [Elwell: That Rembrandt color Dan mentioned is just zinc white with a touch of bismuth yellow (PW4, PY184). It's convenient, but you could mix your own with any white and high chroma yellow, like a cad or hansa lt. When people talk about using higher chroma pigments in the lights, that's exactly what they mean. The thing to remember is that it just takes a smidge to tint the white.]

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