Saturday, March 21, 2009

Experimenting with Vasari Oils

"Oak Creek Eddies"
8x10, oil

For several weeks now, I've been trying to get together with painter Adele Earnshaw (, who lives in the Sedona area. Adele does a lot of wildlife paintings and works en plein air whenever she can. She's also the author of the North Lights book for the watercolor artist, Painting Things You Love. Yesterday, after my last mentoring workshop ended, we were able to spend a few hours together painting.

We went up Oak Creek Canyon to a spot where the creek has lots of eddies in it and is surrounded by tall, red cliffs. Adele was hoping to catch the evening light, but since we were early, she worked on making oil studies of the prickly pears with a toehold on the steep canyon walls. I chose to work on a water piece.

I also played with a set of Vasari ( oils that I was given. You've heard me mention the Yellow Ochre and Terra Rosa this winter, but I until yesterday, I hadn't played with the full set. For my painting, I used:
  • Cadmium Yellow Lemon
  • Permanent Bright Red
  • Ruby Violet
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Sap Green
  • Titanium White
Some of these colors - the yellow, red and violet - are not ones that I use ordinarily. So, in addition to using a new brand of paints, I used new pigments. I gave myself two variables to deal with. (You scientists out there will know this is the wrong way to set up an experiment!)

To tell the truth, I made a painting earlier in the day with the Vasari palette - and it was a scraper. I found the Vasari paints to be much "looser" than I'm used to, and the Ruby Violet is a very strong pigment, stronger than my usual Alizarin Crimson. But by the time I got to this second painting, I was feeling pretty comfortable with the physics. I like the way "Oak Creek Eddies" turned out.

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