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February 13, 2016

Abstract Painting With Acrylic Painting

This was one of the courses offered this semester at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).  At first I didn't even consider it, because I like realistic drawing/painting and I like watercolor.  But I've read enough about theories of creativity, and ways to stimulate your brain, that I finally decided it might be good for me.  I have no idea how to handle acrylic paint, paint on canvas boards, or develop abstract compositions.  So I'm hoping to learn lots.  And then I'll go back to my usual preferred medium and realistic subjects.  But hopefully the experience will have opened my mind to many new ideas. 

The first two weeks of our class were spent doing color studies with 2 red, 2 blue, one yellow, one white and one black tube of acrylic paints. 

 Study 1:  Mix colors and paint a Color Wheel

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Study 2:Mix  brown from the Complementary Colors:ComplementarySIZE.jpgStudy 3:  Paint one hot and one cold square: 

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Study 4:  Using the colors we have, mix 40 different shades of Red 

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Next week I need to bring in sketches and ideas about an abstract painting - Yikes!   

September 18, 2015

FIT Fall Semester Watercolor Class

In 2003 I began to think about retirement activities and bought a student grade set of watercolors, and then played with paints, brushes, and paper over the next 2 years.  I read several watercolor books including Cathy (Kate) Johnson's beginning watercolor painting book.  It was great fun learning on my own and when I partially retired in 2005 I started to draw and paint in a sketchbook almost daily, graduating to Winsor-Newton artist grade tube watercolor paints and better paper.  I've now been retired 6 years and still play with watercolors trying to learn as much as I can by "doing." 

This semester there were still openings for Seniors in the one watercolor section that exists each semester at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and I just completed my second class ever.  We are using Strathmore 400 series 140 lb watercolor paper (18 X 24") and I'm still using my Winsor-Newton paints. 

In the first class, we painted a still life with mixtures of only 2 paints: burnt sienna and ultramarine blue, using quarter sheets and a 3/4" wide flat brush.   

Class 1 

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For homework we set up our own still life and did two 11 X 14" paintings, still using the same paper, brush, and colors. 

Homework 1

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Homework 2 

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Last night was class 2 and we worked on 1/2 sheets using the 3/4" flat brush and a triad of colors, to explore the virtues of Payne's Gray.  We could choose our own yellow and red, and I chose New Gamboge and Scarlet Lake as my other two colors.   

Class 2

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This is a very well structured class, and our exercises are designed to have us paint very loosely.   It is great fun!  I also like working with some restriction on color, even though I always use a very limited palette of primary colors - because I love mixing colors! 

May 5, 2015

My New Small 3D Printed Palette

I have a new, amazing 3D printed palette!  Our friend Pat saw it on a Facebook Page and emailed us the photo.  Teri showed it to her husband Lou and within days, Lou made one for each of us, on his 3D printer, to slip into an Altoid size container!!  I just searched for the original link, and found this:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:753052

It is a solid piece of plastic with 10 wells and it easily and snugly fits into the Altoid-type tin that Teri bought for us. 

I loaded up my new palette with Schminke Aquarelle paints.  After several years using Winsor Newton artist grade watercolors, I decided to try Schminke based on multiple recommendations.  But I was used to my regular WN primary color triads to mix colors, and set the new tubes aside.  So they were perfect for this new small palette. 

Warm Triad: Gamboge Gum Mod. Scarlet Red, Phthaloblue

Cool Triad:  Lemon Yellow, Madder Red Dark, Ultramarine Blue

Convenience color: Neutral Gray

This weekend I took them into Central Park just to enjoy the weather and do some mixing studies.  I always use primary triads and mix the secondary and complementary colors - but also have Winsor Newton Neutral Tint, Van Dyke Brown, and Lamp Black in my palette "for convenience."

 

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I really like the range of colors that I got from mixing these primaries and will probably add a brown and black to the 3 empty wells to complete this pocket size palette! 

October 12, 2012

Mixing Many Greens with Watercolor Paints

I got interested in mixing paints again after my last gouache experiments.  When I bought my first Winsor-Newton artist grade watercolors in 2003, I bought a warm and a cool triad and then followed those purchases with 3 more "primary color" paints for a total of 3 triads.  I switched out the cadmium red and cadmium yellow after several years because they were too opaque, but haven't changed anything else.  With these colors, plus one brown and one gray, I can mix many, many colors very easily.

Mixing 3 yellows and 3 blues in varying proportions (9 combinations total), sounded like fun and I decided to put these tests on a card so I can remember the resultant colors and select which shade of green I want.  I mix paints very loosely, but this exercise demonstrated that several mixtures produce traditional greens and several others produce shades of olive green.

There are 3 sets on the next two cards:  The yellow is identified at the top and the blue is painted next to each set.  In each row, I kept mixing in more yellow until it was clear that I overwhemed the blue.  The order is obviously a little random.  However, with yellow ochre, I never really got a good green with my original mix - but the aqua and grays are lovely.

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I also have a tube of quinacridone gold and decided to test it with the same 3 blues.  It also makes some nice greens.

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All of the above experimentation is quite funny, because I don't paint landscapes.  But I do paint individual flowers and can never remember which combination of my primaries I want for specific leaf colors.  Now my Green card is in the back of my sketchbook so I can make better and easier choices.

September 21, 2012

Playtime #2 with Gouache

My first artist grade watercolors were 3 warm primaries and 3 cool primaries - because I wanted to mix my own colors, like I do with procion MX dyes for fabric.  Laura, of Laurelines.... was posting some color studies that she did and I decided to spend 6 months, one for each primary and secondary color, mixing my 6 Winsor Newton primary triads to explore a full range of colors. 

Each month I collected items of the "color of the month" and tried to mix colors as closely as possible to paint them.  Those sketchbook pages can be seen by scrolling down in the color project category on the right side of my blog - under Archives. 

Now I'm experimenting with my first artist grade gouache and I spent another wonderful playtime mixing complementary colors from my 3 tubes.  The primaries, secondaries created, and some glazing from playtime #1 can be seen here.

This time I wanted to mix complementary colors using red + green, blue + orange, and yellow + purple.  I didn't spend much time mixing the secondary colors, i.e. I didn't try to match them to colors created in my last playtime.  I stayed very loose!  My three primaries are all identified in the 3 spectrums.

 

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I wanted to try to mix all of the colors in a small sketchbook painting and found a perfect reference photo - a scene near Place des Voges taken by our cousin when the 4 of us were in Paris in 2005.  I tried to match the colors in the photo as much as possible, although I still need to work harder to get the darkest gray possible.  One turned out too purple and the other too brown.

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