Monday, May 20, 2013

Return to Campobello Island - and the Traveling Palette

"Lake Shadows" 9x12 oil/panel - $150 unframed + $12 shipping

We've been back on Campobello Island for about a week now, and things are quiet.  It's always quiet in May, but I enjoy that because it's my time to clean the dust out of the studio, take stock of my painting supplies, get the gallery set up and even paint a little.  I haven't gotten to the painting yet, but as soon as this patch of rain moves offshore, I'll be out there.  For the time being, I thought I'd post the above painting that I did just before leaving last fall.  I'll start posting this season's work soon.

We're also working on the house over in Lubec.  This is our Artist Retreat Studios and Gallery project.  As I may have mentioned elsewhere, our idea is to make the house into an apartment and studio suitable for an artist who may want to come up for a week, a month or longer, to use as a base camp for explorations.  We've just about got the apartment done, and now we're working on the rest of it.  If you're interested, drop us a line or follow the link to the blog where we post updates:

Although we're pretty busy right now, we're taking breaks, too.  Yesterday we went into the park (Roosevelt Campobello International Park) to see how the season is progressing.  Fiddleheads are still unrolling, and the grass is just about the greenest I've ever seen it.  By the way, in our yard, the apple trees are poised to bloom.  I'm excited to be painting those again soon.

(That's not a bear - that's Saba the dog!)

When people learn we go back and forth between Arizona and Campobello, they have one question:  Do I change my palette based on location?  No, I don't.  Certainly, seascapes and maritime paintings tend to use more blue and green; my paintings of the Southwest tend to have more reds and yellows.  But I don't change my palette.  For oil, I use the same six colors plus white (and a little Chromatic Black for muting mixtures).  For pastel, I use the same 120 colors.  This is because both palettes, oil and pastel, are based on the color wheel.  From this, I can mix just about anything I need.  The only time I change my palette is when I want to experiment with color.  Soon, I hope to play with some brand new colors I got from Gamblin.

For the record, here are my standard oil colors (Gamblin brand):

  • Cadmium yellow light
  • Cadmium yellow deep
  • Cadmium red
  • Permanent alizarin crimson
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Phthalo emerald
  • Chromatic black
  • Titanium-zinc white

For pastels, I use the full, 120-color set of Faber-Castell Polychromos pastels plus a selection of Mount Vision pastels that follow the same color wheel concept.  (See my book, Backpacker Painting: Outdoors with Oil and Pastel, which is available at Amazon, for details.)

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