Friday, April 24, 2009

Painters and their Palettes

Some painters were invited to describe their palettes and the way they organize them, as well as their preferences regarding brushes, paint brands and medium formulas...

Paul Cezanne
The colors on Cezanne's palette, according to Emile Bernard:
brilliant yellow
naples yellow
chrome yellow
yellow ochre
raw sienna
red ochre
burnt sienna
rose madder
carmine lake
burnt lake
emerald green
green earth
cobalt blue
prussian blue
peach black
lead white

And many others...

dan dos santos' favorite color

Favorite color?
Rembrandt’s “Yellowish Green.” Aside from looking really yummy on its own, it makes the most beautiful flesh tones when mixed with reds.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

prepping paper for oil paint

[...] I've been preparing Arches 300 lb. cold press watercolor paper with two or three coats of acrylic matte medium. Reviewing notes from a workshop, I discovered that the recommendation was for one coat of matte medium followed by two coats of acrylic gesso.

Friday, April 17, 2009

night painting


  • When painting at night values are very close together, so simplify your palette if possible.
  • Choose subject matter that has the greatest degree of value contrast with the simplest compositional elements.
  • Try to use as few artificial light sources as possible so as not to interfere with what you’re naturally observing.
  • Make sure you angle your headlamp down at 45 degrees to avoid light bouncing back into your eyes.
  • Position your easel and palette so that they have consistent lighting: if your canvas is in light make sure your palette is in light. If your canvas is in shadow, make sure your palette is in shadow.
  • When mixing your palette at night, remember to make the colors slightly lighter than what you’re actually seeing because they will appear much duller and darker when viewed in daylight.
  • Use very little white.
  • Because most of the colors you will be painting with at night will be cool, use a warm underpainting to provide greater contrast and luminosity.
  • Use big brushes for better blending and to achieve the soft edges inherent in night scenes.
  • The moon is cooler on top and warmer on the bottom because, as it’s rising, there is more atmosphere below it than there is above it.
  • There is a warm halo of ambient light around the moon. By exaggerating the dark values surrounding that with a chiaroscuro effect, you will create the illusion that the moon is glowing.
  • The farther away from the moon, the darker the sky’s value.
  • As the moon rises, its reflection will spread out wider over the surface beneath it.

Judging the right place to put the joints

Dan Gheno will speak at length about the tricky issue of foreshortening, the way the full length of a human limb is not seen when you are viewing it straight on, instead of sideways. [...] So here's some advice from Gheno on how to judge the right place to put a joint in human limbs.

No matter how jarringly big or small the individual body parts may look to your eye, they will always have a rhythmic connection to the rest of the body. As you know from previous articles, all body parts have some sort of reciprocal, arcing relationship with one another. For instance, when you swing your arm at your side, your wrist follows an arc that crosses over your hipbone or great trochanter; and your elbow swings along a curve that passes over the area between your navel and the bottom of your rib cage. Meanwhile, if you bend your leg and swing it upward, it will follow a curving track that would eventually pass through your arm pit. If you raise your ankle, you’ll find that it follows along a curve that if continued would ultimately arc across your great trochanter. And so on.

You can easily see how sketching these radiating, curved tracking lines on your image will help you relate one joint to another when drawing a straightforward, mildly foreshortened figure. But although these radiating relationships can seem quite distorted and confusing in a highly foreshortened figure, they’re still very useful. Just remember that you’re looking at these imaginary arcing lines in perspective: Each arc bows out as it approaches your line of sight and tightens as it recedes. Don’t worry if you find it difficult to consciously account for their perspectival distortion at first. Usually it’s just a matter of keeping these radiating guidelines in the back of your mind for them to work. As you consciously measure one body part's length against another's, these conceptual, arcing lines will labor subconsciously, stimulating your mind, eyes, and hands to find and replicate the natural rhythms that run through the human form.

dealing with tanned parts of models

Dan Gheno on how the tanned portions of a nude model seem to stand out and push forward:

"Pay close attention to the local value differences of each individual body part. Arms, legs, necks, and faces regularly get more exposure to the sun and appear darker than the rest of the overall figure. If you see this in your model as you draw, don’t ignore it; any foreshortening in the limbs will become magnified when you draw a slightly darker arm or leg silhouetted against a lighter torso. Even a slightly darker neck will seem to push forward as a mass when viewed against a slightly lighter shoulder mass. But remember, this effect is subtle, and as always, primarily trust your eye.

"I often encourage my students to study individual, isolated body parts to help them better understand human anatomy and amass a working vocabulary of figure forms that will aid them in seeing detail more quickly and precisely. As constantly happens when you draw something out of context, your sense of foreshortening becomes hampered when drawing a leg or an arm detached from the torso. Don’t let yourself unconsciously correct the foreshortened proportions while drawing a bent limb. If the upper arm looks a lot smaller than the lower arm, draw it that way, and it will have more life and dimension."

Reflections on a Pond

Kevin Macpherson, Reflections on a pond series, 8.4.00, 7:45 pm

"Macpherson did all of the Reflections on a Pond paintings in the same size—6” x 8”—and stuck to one main vantage point and composition for all the paintings, so he could concentrate on the variety in the light and atmosphere. He worked entirely from life for this project, either directly en plein air or from the same indoor bay-window view that first inspired his fascination with the subject. The artist used his usual limited palette—cadmium yellow light, alizarin crimson, and ultramarine blue, plus white—which allowed him to achieve more unified colors. “My palette is limited to the primaries, but it’s not limited in what you can achieve with it,” Macpherson told Susan Hallsten McGarry in the book Reflections on a Pond: A Visual Journal. “I use this limited palette for just about all my work, whether outdoors or in the studio. It allows for more harmonious paintings and is, for me, more liberating than limiting.”"

cadmium yellow light
alizarin crimson
ultramarine blue

George Stavrinos

PJT: "I must agree that Annigoni was a wonderful draftsman, but I would like to cast my vote for George Stavrinos. American Artist did an article on Stavrinos in 1984 I believe and he passed away way to soon in the early 1990's at age 42. Primarily a fashion illustrator, his highly finished pencil drawings graced the advertising campaigns of Bergdorf Goodman, The New York City Ballet, Barney's to name just a few Today, unlike the other great fashion illustrators such as Rene Gruau, Antonio Lopez et al., it is virtually impossible to find anything on this unique and influential draftsman."

NYT Aug 7, 1990:
George Stavrinos, a graphic artist and illustrator who helped revive interest in finely drawn representational art, died Friday at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan. He was 42 years old and lived in Manhattan. He died of complications of pneumonia, his sister Lydia said. Mr. Stavrinos graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1970, and his drawings and illustrations soon began to appear in The New York Times, Gentleman's Quarterly and Cosmopolitan. He did freelance work for Barney's Clothes, Bergdorf Goodman and Push Pin Studio. In the mid-1980's he created a series of drawings that were used to promote the repertory of the New York City Opera. His work was exhibited in galleries in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, Providence, London, Paris and Tokyo.

Pietro Annigoni

"[Pietro] Annigoni was born in Milan in 1910 and lived in Florence for most of his life. He is known for helping draft a manifesto in the late 40s advocating realism in an art world that was consumed by Abstract Expressionism. He became famous for his portraits, with his popularity seeming to peak in the early 60s. Annigoni is perhaps most famous for a somewhat romanticized portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, a likeness that was chosen for use on several paper currencies in the British Commonwealth."

Brand-new Museo Pietro Annigoni in Florence, website has online gallery

aforementioned portrait:

Self-portrait, 1946:

portrait of Maria Ricciarda (1970):

Queen Margherita of Denmark 1978:

4 Time Magazine covers:

John F Kennedy 1962

Pope John XXIII 1962

Ludwig Erhard 1963

Lyndon Johnson 1968

Greys Make The Colors Sing

L S Garwood: "In reference to paintings, I had an instructor years ago who commented that "ít's the greys that make the colors sing." To me this means a number of things. First, the grays (neutrals in negative spaces) give the eye somewhere to rest, and make areas of color pop. [...]"

Negative Space

* Bob Bahr on Lisa Dinhofer: [...] putting the emphasis on the objects in your scene is risky if it leads to forgetting that the negative space is where your piece is either going to excel or be average. "The most important part of a painting is the space between the objects," she said. "It's also the hardest part to paint. But that's where the poetry is."

In some cases, the negative space is drawn, even if it is just some hatching to provide a tone. But often in people's drawings, the negative space is simply the paper. [...]

I am a fan of toned paper. It's expensive, but if I plan on spending even a coupla hours on a drawing, the cost is justified. I use colored pastel paper in a pad, usually from Canson. But I also like using Bogus Rough Sketch from Bee Paper. It's designed for fashion sketches, but its significant tooth and nice brown tone make it a great paper upon which to work up and down in value.[...]

Search This Blog