"I was raised on a song there, I done right I done wrong there, and it's true I belong there, and it's true it's my home" - from Piney Wood Hills by Buffy Sainte-Marie, singer, songwriter, artist
Room With A View by Joan Terrell
Original palette knife oil painting
6" x 6" museum quality gessobord™ panel
© 2015 Joan Terrell
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It's raining in Georgia... still. Since Sunday. Raining through the coming weekend. Raining.
So what's a plein air painter supposed to do? Some brave the elements and create paintings of the rain, in the rain. Yours truly is not that intrepid, so I sent myself back to school. Back to basics.
Artists have their strengths and weaknesses. My weakness is values (or tonality). I tend to end up doing the backstroke in the mid tones. One of the best lessons in values came from artist Mike Rooney. I kept the black and white values chart he had each of us make. It sure has come in handy. The lightest value is white (a 1) and goes to the darkest at a 6.
So while a symphony of rain played on, I put a photo and a blank 6x6" panel up on the easel, determined to conquer this values thing. You can see my handwritten sticky note analysis below: Clouds (1 to 2), Sky top (3), Sky bottom (2), Back mountain (3-blue), Mid mountain (3 green), Foreground mountain (5), Foreground bushes/trees (4 with 3 highlights and 5 shadows)
First, I determined the values of the oils straight out of the tubes: Cad Yellow Medium (4), Alizarin Crimson (5), Thalo Green/yellow (5), Sap Green (6), Ultramarine Blue (6), Titanium White (1). Then I mixed some colors according to my sticky note analysis and wrote their value numbers beside them on the palette liner paper.
My eyes get so confused that when I look at colors, my brain blocks on their tonal values, so I turned the color photo to B&W. H-mmm, pretty close. It's starting to make sense now. Mental note, always take photos and turn them B&W, especially when painting outdoors.
At the same time, I'm trying to hone my palette knife skills and am enjoying letting texture help color with the heavy lifting. Here are some closeups.
As Ms. Sainte-Marie ends her song... "I'll return like a poor man, or a king if God wills, but I'm on my way home to the piney wood hills." Amen, sister.