Monday, October 24, 2011

Sedona Plein Air Festival - Day 2

Sunday, as well are Monday and Tuesday, are "free painting" days.  That is, artists don't have to be anywhere in particular.  However, the Sedona Arts Center has asked all the artists to either text in their locations or to set their smartphones to send GPS coordinates just in case patrons want to visit with us.  Unfortunately, I haven't quite made it to the 24th century yet - I'm still waiting for Captain Kirk to come back for me - and I only recently learned to text.  Yesterday afternoon, when I got to my location, I faithfully tried to transmit my coordinates, only to find that my phone reported No Service.  Service is spotty around here once you go off the well-beaten path.

But before that, I dropped by Sedona Arts Supply to attend Scott Gellatly's lecture and demonstration.  In about two hours, Scott, who is the Product Manager for Gamblin Artists Colors, gave an incredibly informative talk on oil palettes, both classic, Impressionist and modern, and on painting mediums.   About 25 people attended, and several at the end said that the talk really cleared up a few mysteries for them.  I learned one of the differences between mineral and modern pigments.  It has to do with tinting strength and greying when white is added.  For example, Cadmium Red, a mineral pigment used by the Impressionists, and Napthol Red, a modern organic pigment, look very much alike when squeezed out of a tube.  They are both high in chroma.  But when you add white to Cadmium Red, not only does the color lighten, it also gets weaker or more muted.  This doesn't happen as much with Napthol Red.  The modern pigments tend not to lose chroma when white is added.  Scott demonstrated this with the reds, and it was fascinating to see.

Also, a new color "Sedona Red," which I had a hand in creating, was released to the public.   (Sedona Arts Supply sells it exclusively.)  Scott calls this a vintage color - like a wine, the next batch may be a little different from the last.  I had a chance to use it, because after the lecture, Scott and I went off to paint.

Painting by Cathedral Rock

Scott Gellatly at Work
It was getting late in the day, but the light was getting richer.  I started at 12x16, but as I was getting close to finishing, the shadows had changed so much on Cathedral Rock that I decided to put it aside for the next evening with good light.  I started a second, a 9x12, and found myself really wanting some Napthol Red to replace my Cadmium Red - I just couldn't get the rich, sunset light as rich as I wanted by adding white!  The Sedona Red worked really well as a base color, though.  It was very easy to push it cooler or warmer and hit the color notes just right.  I like this 2011 vintage.

Not Quite Done - 12x16
Afterward, several of us went to El Rincon in Tlaquepaque for dinner.  Now this morning (Monday), a new day is starting, but some weather appears to be moving in.  Time to get moving myself!


Dianne said...

Never fear, Scotty will beam you up! He only says "it canna be done" to the cap'n. All seriousness aside, you really got a great sandstone red on those rocks, my jaw dropped. It really looks like they do in the slanting late day light. You've intrigued me on red colors now, I'm going to check out Napthol Red, and is there really a Sedona red? Were you kidding with that one? I'm off to Cheap Joe's etc to search.

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Yup, really is a Sedona Red. But as I said, it's currently available only through Sedona Arts Supply,

daniela.. said...

With all due respect, Michael, and I know experimentation is all it is cracked up to be, but I thought Impressionism had a lot to do with juxtaposing colors so that some (red) look even stronger. Being an artist is like doing magic, me thinks. In Australia we have a brand of made in Australia paints that are no better or worse than other brands, and there is a tube of what is labelled Deep Red.This is the reddest red I have ever used, not as orange as Cadmium and definitely higher in chroma and warmer than Alizarin. I love it, it is so red it is shocking.

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

You're correct, Daniela, but the point is the pigments the Impressionists had available to them. They tended to use the newer pigments that the classical painters didn't have - the cadmiums, for example.

Helen Opie said...

Something else from those smart people at Gamblin passed on to me by a friend: in landscape painting, the cadmiums have the advantage over the stronger modern colours in that this tendency to grey out when mixed with a lot of white is just what's needed to push those reds and yellows back into the distance. I find I like Hansa yellows for still lifes and high chroma somewhat abstract painting, but for landscapes, the cadiums remain my favourites- except, as you pointed out, for getting some brilliance into a sky.