Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Edgar Payne

"Storm Coming" 9x12, pastel

"Slippery Footing" 5x7, pastel - SOLD

This week, I'm rereading Edgar Payne's fine book, Composition of Outdoor Painting. This is one of the "bibles" of plein air painters. (Another is John Carlson's book, Guide to Landscape Painting.) Payne's book is one of the old-style art instruction books with tiny print and black-and-white illustrations. Although more recent editions include a few color images of his work as well as notes and examples of work by his wife and also his daughter, it's still a dense book. But it bears reading, re-reading and underlining key passages.

Since I've been writing so much about black lately - and stirring up a hornet's nest of reader comments both in my blog and on WetCanvas.com - here's what Payne has to say about black:

"Black is used a great deal in pictorial work but unfortunately it does not have real affinity with color. A neutral shade answers the purpose much better. True, an absolute neutral is almost impossible to make. Yet a dark gray made with Indian red, ultramarine blue and a portion of a yellow added makes a very satisfactory dark for the palette. This dark can be modified with other colors to suit the color scheme or with white to suit the value scale."

Payne is one of the true masters. His paintings of the Southwest go unmatched. For examples of his work, visit http://www.derusfinearts.com/wantedEDGARPAYNE.html. You can also buy his book there.

The paintings above are not, of course, Payne's but mine. The first is a pastel sketch in which I used an alcohol wash to block in the colors initially, and the second, a close-up sketch made on Kitty Wallis' Belgian Mist sanded paper. It was painted directly and without a wash. As you can tell, it was a rather overcast day!

1 comment:

Jo Castillo said...

You are making us think! I really like your pastel paintings.