My focus has been portability, lightweight easel, small canvas board, small palette and minimal tubes of paint. After watching Nikolay Mikushkin wheel his supplies to the far end of the vineyard and paint four large, gorgeous paintings this past weekend I decided to return to larger canvases, a much larger palette, more paint tubes and plenty of brushes. Though I don’t have blossoming trees in my backyard, I do have the challenge of painting hedgerows and woods, neutral masses with manicures of emerging colors.
I squeezed out the colors I used to make my Richard Schmid color charts: Cadmium Lemon, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow ochre, Cadmium Red Light, Terra Rosa, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Viridian, Manganese Blue and French Ultramarine Blue. I used one of my drawing boards, a 16″ x 20″ piece of 1/4 ” plywood, unsealed, for my palette and a 12″ x 16″ previously painted on and sanded down board for my painting. Though not as large as I plan on painting, it is much larger than the 5″ x 8″ paintings I’ve been working on for the past year. What was I thinking? For me, the stroke is just beginning when I am already off the edge!
I premixed about eight colors to unsure a strong beginning of color harmony and value range. What a relief to have enough room o my palette to mix substantial quantities of multiple colors and to see how they worked together. Several of my mixes were scraped from the palette and discarded before they ever had a chance to cause problems on the canvas.
The subtleties of the still-bare branches eluded me. When I became more adventurous and inventive with my color, the joy of painting in oil outdoors returned to me. That joy had been sleeping while I worked on tiny boards. A bit of the harmony vanished as more energy entered the painting.
I’ll post it again after this afternoon’s session.
…….. I referred to my Richard Schmid Color Charts often while mixing my pigments. This helped to keep my colors clean as sell as forcing me to be decisive about my choices.
I scraped my palette at the end of the session, but I didn’t clean it with turpentine. I will allow the colors to build up on the board. This provides a color reference for the following session, a record of colors used in paintings, as well as various colors and values to gauge new mixes against.
Painting: oil on prepared board, en plein air landscape of spring trees, hedgerow and woods