When I first arrived in Maryland I tinted about thirty canvases and boards to have them ready for a week of painting. I painted more than half of them with a wash of Terra Rosa, my standard underpainting color. As an experiment, I painted eight or nine with a wash of Permanent Mauve, a color that I have not been using on my palette lately. It is not one of the colors on my Richard Schmid Color Charts.
After the first day of painting I found that the Terra Rosa underpainting was too warm and didn’t work as well with the colors of the landscape around me. After the third day of painting I had used all of the canvases and boards that had been washed with the Permanent Mauve. Those paintings were more satisfying.
As I became more tuned in to the marshes, I liked the Terra Rosa even less. It’s great for the farmland surrounding me in New Jersey, but doesn’t make it for me in the Chesapeake Bay area. After setting up my easel at Broad Creek, I brushed a wash of Permanent Mauve over the remaining Terra Rosa panels and let them dry in the sun on the trunk of my K-car.
Here is my Broad Creek setup. This was the last of the canvases that had been originally washed with Permanent Mauve. It felt as if the marshes painted themselves over this underpainting color.
That big glob of cadmium red on my palette remained a big glob throughout the week. I used this color the least, only a touch every now and then to tone down the greens. Viridian took the prize for the most used color. Thanks to the Richard Schmid Color Charts I was able to use it to mix all the various greens as well as some gorgeous purple/lavendars ! with it. Viridian and Alizarin plus white surprised me. I had forgotten that the mix can lean toward purple.
With all of these new color experiences in mind, I will experiment with other underpainting wash colors to create various moods and illusions of light.
Painting: painted en plein air, 5″ x 5″ oil painting on gessoed birch panel washed with dilution of Terra Rosa oil paint. View of the Wicomico River, Whitehaven, Maryland.