Orchid for #WorldWatercolorMonth

Miltonia orchid
Miltonia – 5×7 – Daniel Smith watercolors on 140 lb. Fabriano Artistico hot pressed extra white

Already bending the rules a little, this is a watercolor sketch done near the end of June – but posted in July!

One of the main goals of watercolor month is to raise awareness of the need for art education and supplies for students through the Dreaming Zebra Foundation. I’ve put this link in my sidebar so you can check that out too.

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Walnut Ink

This is a walnut ink drawing/painting of my friends antique buddha called “The Scholar” – also an appropriate submission for the “Illustration Friday” topic of “old”. He’s a wooden carving and as I understand it they were found in Buddhist Temples. The walnut ink is fun to draw and paint with. It’s also easy to wash out areas that you might want to change. Definitely will be doing more with the walnut ink. ūüôā

The Scholar
The Scholar – walnut ink

Palette Talk

Originally my plan was to write about Sorolla and his palettes, however while researching I found the definitive article written on Sorolla, his palettes and technique. The article was written in 1990 by Charles Sovek as a cover article for The Artists Magazine.

The article is here:  http://www.sovek.com/publications/articles/sorolla/index.htm

Sorolla’s palettes were different for portraiture or outdoor landscape, as stated in the article:

“Varying with the subjects he painted, Sorolla used essentially two different color palettes. For studio portraits, he favored one that included black, burnt umber, raw umber, rose madder, burnt sienna, raw sienna, yellow ochre, Naples yellow, vermilion and cobalt blue. Occasionally he would add orange, pink or purple, but he usually emphasized strong tonal contrasts over ambitious color effects. His outdoor palette was completely different and included cobalt violet, rose madder, all the cadmium reds, cadmium orange, all the cadmium yellows, yellow ochre, chrome green (since replaced by permanent green light), viridian, Prussian blue, cobalt blue and French ultramarine. In both cases, he used lead white.”

Unfortunately Charles Sovek passed away in 2007, however his website remains and is loaded with valuable information and is maintained by The Charles Sovek Estate.

http://www.sovek.com/index.htm

On the top of his section “Speaking of Art” he talks about the palette based on the color wheel, or a rainbow palette, which is similar to what I use, sometimes less and sometimes more, depending on what I’m painting, but a good color wheel palette in any medium keeps your paintings bright and less muddled.

Sovek’s suggestion is: Dioxine purple, permanent rose, cadmium red light, cadmium orange, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium yellow light, thalo green, cerulean blue, ultramarine blue, white, black.

Personally, most of the time I don’t use the purple, thalo green, cerulean blue or black and try to mix those instead. Sometimes I’ll use thalo blue (carefully – it’s a strong color). Also I use Veridian. But basically it does stay fresh and is a rainbow palette.

In the past I’ve discussed palettes for pastels and do in fact use different palettes for portraits and landscapes, more earthtones for the portraits and more of a color wheel selection for landscapes.

Because of copyright issues I haven’t included one of Sovek’s paintings here but strongly urge you to visit the website and look through his galleries as well as the “Lessons from the Easel”. He was a wonderful painter and teacher. You can get his books and dvd’s there also.

This website is also interesting, Sorolla’s paintings and biography:

http://www.joaquin-sorolla-y-bastida.org/

 

 

Purple Bouganvilla

Bouganvilla
Bouganvilla in vintage vase – pastel on paper

This was a quick study that I did some time ago.¬† Since I’m working on something else right now, I’m not able to post that painting until it’s finished.¬† Pastels go through an ugly stage that I don’t share with anyone.¬† My husband used to pass by my works in progress and think the paintings were horrible, but then would be surprised when he saw the finished product.¬† He would be seeing the first layer of pastels.¬† Although all the layers contribute to the final painting, they sort of disappear eventually – or visually mix together.¬† So the first layer is usually the undertones, the shadows and might not even be the right shape yet. It’s all very scratchy and scrawly.¬† It’s a different story when using an underpainting though and one of these days, when I have a chance, I’ll post that process.

Hopefully the new painting will have the same energy that this does.¬† However, there won’t be any bouganvillas in it, but plenty of other flowers.

 

Why Paint?

Hobe Sound Rose Hobe Sound Rose – Pastel on paper – no camera involved (except to photograph the painting, that is) – a rose that I grew and a pot that I made.

The inspiration to paint can come from so many places……….. and yet there are some days you say to yourself, why paint?¬† Sometimes my inspiration is to just improve myself.¬† Most of the time I’m overwhelmed with ideas and objects that inspire me and then the thought runs through my head that I might be insane.¬† But that’s a whole nuther topic.

“Drawing as a means of expression is the justification of art over photography.” Andrew Loomis, Creative Illustration, 1947

How cool is that?¬† We’re still discussing this today in 2012, yet some people have never even been made aware of it.¬† It bothers me that there are so many people that judge good art by how close to a photograph the painting it is.¬† Not to mention the hyperrealist or photorealist painters that have the goal of painstakingly reproducing a photograph.¬† As if the photograph were the standard that paintings had to live up to.

Don’t misunderstand and think that I’m not in favor of photography because I love photography! It seems that over time artistic goals have sometimes become distorted.

Mr. Loomis was directing this to the art student (in the 1940’s!!!) and comparing¬† original illustration to photography which he said couldn’t provide the expressiveness that the artist could. He doesn’t throw photography out the window but at that time guides the artist to understand they aren’t being replaced by a camera.¬† Even though we now have the means to be more expressive with digital applications, the camera still can’t produce the surface and line quality nor the atmosphere and character that original art can.

So that is why you paint Рto go beyond the photograph with your personal expression of the poetic landscape (or what ever your thing is).  One good reason,  anyway.

Sometimes it seems that things and/or thoughts are presented to you by some unseen spirit and you can’t help but think it must be meaningful.¬† Kismet.¬† Destiny.¬† Some amazing global consciousness!¬† Why else would all of these things come together at the same time?

Yes, I’m looking for answers and finding the ones that suit me but so are many other people which is validation enough for me.¬† Because after all, I do need to justify my obsession and insanity.

Chorus Line

Chorus Line
Chorus Line, 8x10 Oil on Panel

The practice of setting up a small still life and limiting the time you spend on it has been around for a long time and it’s a practice that I enjoy.¬† Some of the most inspiring subjects are in the produce department and I find myself there testing the bartlet pears quite often.¬† Most people might be looking for softness, ripeness, but my tests are: can the pear can stand on it’s own, is it a shapely pear, and of course, how good is the color?

Once they’re home with me, I set them up with dramatic lighting, as if they are on stage!¬† With this painting my goals were to improve my brush work and to keep the colors light and appealing.

Using a bristle flat brush is greatly improving my brush work since it holds more paint and the marks are showing how luscious the paint is.¬† The pears were juicy and luscious, so they should be depicted that way.¬† My palette is a simple rainbow palette that I’ve been using for years but I’ve lightened things up now, reminding myself to stay in the higher value range.

The Soloist - 5x7 oil on panel

This guy needed his portrait painted and didn’t have anything to do with that other group.

Thanks to the sale a Jay Mar, I’m stocked up on canvas now and will be painting more still lifes in the near future.

My collection of thrift store finds will be a future series of paintings and great composition practice.

Feel free to give me feedback or ask any questions in the comments section and thanks for looking!