Friday, July 10, 2009

Painting Rich Color

"Waiting for High Tide"
9x12, oil

The sun has returned to Campobello, so yesterday we went out to paint boats. Few boats around here have that spanking-new, out-of-the-can paint job that you see in the marinas of Key West. Our boats are working boats, which means the fishermen paint them when they have time, which isn't often. But you'll always find wonderful color in the brightly-hued boat buoys and bumpers. These are made with synthetic colors you won't find in nature.

And you won't find the colors in my limited palette, either. I use a split-primary palette consisting of Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Red Light, Permanent Alizarin, Ultramarine Blue and Phthalo Blue. Trying to mix the right buoy color from these is impossible. The buoys are an orangey-pinky color, which is more of a secondary than a primary. Anytime you mix a secondary from the primaries, you automatically get a greyed version of the secondary. To get a really rich version, you must go for a tube color.

While painting "Waiting for High Tide" on location, I blocked in the buoy with Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Yellow Light and white. I knew I couldn't achieve the exact color I wanted, so the block-in was a memory aid for the studio. Once in the studio, I re-painted it with Grumbacher Thalo Red Rose, Cadmium Barium Orange and white. This made a big difference and got the effect I needed.

Here's a before and after photo of the buoy:

Also, please don't forget that my pastel video, one of two companion DVDs to my book, Backpacker Painting, is now available. You can find out more and order it from here:

1 comment:

Martin Figlinski said...

Beautiful painting and a nice demo of how using the right tube colors can create a lot of impact. I paint with a limited palette and used to struggle to get the right green that is used in sail covers on sail boats until I realized I just needed some thalo green!

Martin Figlinski