Monday, July 21, 2014

Somewhere over the rainbow

Artists are always trying different paint colors and brands. Sometimes before beginning a painting, I do a paint test. This test can create some interesting results on both the palette and the canvas.

This test is on a sheet of 16" x 20" canvas, but 140 lb. water color paper or maybe even foam core board would work just as well. Love those pads of canvas for experimenting. You can just tear out a sheet and experiment, then if you like the results, glue it to a board. Most artists use Masonite cut to size for the backing board. Home Depot can be your friend.

I decided which paints to test and then wrote their names along the side and top. I also wrote the brand names down in the lower right corner. Here's what I used: Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Orange, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Light, Sennelier Blue Grey, Cerulean Blue (don't you just love how the word "Cerulean" rolls off your tongue?), and lastly, good old tried and true favorite, Ultramarine Blue. All are the Grumbacher Pre-Tested brand except for Sennelier (ah, the French, there's another one that rolls off the tongue - "Oui garcon, I'd like another Sen-el-yay, please." They love our Southern accent over there).

Then I squeezed a little of each color down the side and along the top. This baselines the pure "out of the tube" color. Oh, and white. After mixing, you want to use a little white. Almost forgot, that's like saying - "don't forget to add pecans to that pie".

I started with the yellow and then moving across, mixed the yellow with each color. I used a palette knife because it's easier to clean than a brush and it helps maintain a purer color mix. 

So why do this? The answer is color harmony. There are a lot of colors out there, but if you keep your palette limited, the odds are in your favor for smooth sailing.

Ooooh, did you see what Alizarin Crimson and Sennelier Blue Grey made? Now we're dancing!

Follow the yellow brick road...

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