Starting out with that first box of 8 crayons was quite fun but oh! when I got my first box of 64 I was ecstatic! And then there was more!
So when I hear of artists using a limited palette I ask, why?
Anders Zorn used yellow ochre, ivory black, vermilion and titanium white. That’s it! And he produced brilliant masterpieces.
Many artists choose a palette that includes warm and cool primaries, red, blue, and yellow, plus white. Scott Christensen uses just red, blue and yellow with some grays as values to modify color and tone. Carol Marine adds burnt umber to her primaries. Kathleen Dunphy includes Naples Yellow Deep and a gray.
A limited palette has many advantages. If you are a Plein air painter (painting outdoors) you have less to carry. Also when you mix all your colors from these limited colors you should be able to create harmony in your work.
On the flip side there are artists such as Karin Jurik who love, love, love color and with maybe 80 colors in her studio, puts out probably 45 or more on her palette—a pizza pan. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAIs1S_zAMI) Having so many to choose from can make you lazy. But Karin mixes every paint she uses.
As I read about artists whose work I admire I like to buy a color or two that they mention as their favorite or a color they find highly useful. So although I basically work with a split primary palette (warm and cool) plus white, I have collected indeed my box of 64 and more!
Here is my latest piece, “On the Road Again”, 10×20” oil on canvas.
Everyone loves the water, to be near it if not on it.
What is it? Is it the sound? The waves or the movement? The way the light dances on the surface? The mystery of what lies beneath?
I love the reflections, and the light and distorted images of whatever is near. And there is always life around water—flying over it, jumping in it or out of it. And always a breeze. And I love to paint it.
I was driving home from the artists’ breakfast that we have every Saturday morning and in my neighborhood the sun was hitting this tree in full fall colors. I got a couple blocks down and knew I had to go back and snap some photos with my iPhone. I went home and began painting. It’s not often I get to use Cadmium orange and Cadmium yellow right out of the tube. I must say I did get too thick too fast though. I guess I was too excited. It was going so well and then it wasn’t! I was getting picky—painting every leave. So I wiped out the tree and began again, slowly layering the paint. Much happier with the results.
The neighborhood is full of trees in all stages of color and falling leaves. I had a plethora of streets to shoot my photos. This one with its deep shadows complimenting that fiery color activated my “OH!” factor.
I am a fair weather painter. I admire those who bundle up in the winter and brave the cold and snow, but for me, the sun and wind and bugs are challenge enough.
I learned to paint “in the open air” while living in California. When I moved back to Michigan I was honestly surprised to find artists painting en plein air.Ha! So we go out together (safer) after being cooped up in our studios all winter to be enthralled, overwhelmed, and challenged by nature.
The first week I came home and immediately wiped off all the paint. The second week was not too bad—won’t win any prizes; probably won’t sell; but is worth studying to see what I learned for next time.
Third week went better. We were serenaded by birds and frogs; there was a creek and a nice breeze. I was happier with the result. Loose, painterly, almost abstract. Available at http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/557386
This week the group opted to paint in the local town. Just when I was getting back into the landscape (after my flower series) we have buildings! Another learning experience; not a keeper. And so it goes…
Fall weather has been great this year. Sunny and warm is not a day to be in the studio. I took a day to be outside in the sun and fresh air getting inspired and taking pics. Potter Park Zoo and Hawk Island Park provided me with both.
I could’ve set up to paint on site, but I wanted to get as many photos as I could for the upcoming studio time when the weather won’t be so nice. Photos and some notes will provide the inspiration making the creation of the art just a matter of getting into the “zone” and putting on the paint. (Oh, ho! if only it were that easy!)
But for me the vision, the excitement has to be inside before anything worthwhile shows up on the canvas. And the light and colors of this fall day was quite thrilling.
Surgery on my right shoulder January stopped me from painting for about a week while I was tethered to an ice machine and on some serious pain meds. I’m left handed and it made life difficult but I got by and got back to painting as soon as I could.
NOW I’ve had surgery on my LEFT shoulder! Oh boy. (My rotator cuffs have just worn out) I probably use my right hand more than most right-handed people use their left, but this is a whole new ballgame.
But what the hey, I have to paint. And I’ve wanted to loosen up my brush style. Let’s see what happens when I paint with my RIGHT hand!
What do you think?
Oh, and on the 4th one after reaching across to my paint I realized I should move my palette to the right side!
When I was 4 I broke my left arm and I still remember throwing my crayon across the table because I couldn’t color. At least now I don’t have to stay inside the lines.
If you have a story where you had an obstacle to your passion that you overcame tell me about it. I’ll send one of these right-handed sketches to my favorite story. Ends 9/9/15.
If you have a blank wall in your home it’s dead space. It’s closing in on you, closer and closer, making your room feel smaller than it is.
When you put art, or photos, or a mirror on your walls you’ve made your space larger, opened it up…ahh more breathable.
A mirror placed strategically on a wall opposite a window reflects the outdoors and the light, and almost acts as an inside window.
Art or photos hung on inside walls give you portals to other places, people, and feelings. A landscape gives you a vista in another place in the world—somewhere you’ve been or would like to visit. A still life might remind you of a special place in your mom’s house. An abstract’s swirling colors might relax you or excite you.
Art is like a time machine. All the feelings of the piece take you right there. Your home is expanded across time, space, memories, feelings—better than a dream—and all is right with the world.
I painted this on a weekend trip when I lived in California and I look at it an remember every bit of that weekend. Do you have a photo from a trip that would make a great painting for your wall? Maybe we should talk.
Making art usually takes place in solitude, not always, but usually. So many artists like to have a social outlet to keep them sane and the company of other artists allows them to discuss some of the challenges they encounter.
Every Saturday morning I get together with a group of artists for breakfast at a local diner. We catch up on the week’s activities and discuss the “Art question of the week.” Non-artists are welcome, spouses and friends as well.
An older gentleman has become a regular. I believe he has done some sketching. He is Swiss, looks like Santa with a shock of white hair, bushy white eyebrows, and white beard. I don’t always understand him. He is soft spoken, chuckling while he speaks, and telling jokes I don’t get.
I was showing around some paintings I had done the past week that I have photos of on my iPhone. This gentleman didn’t know how to swipe through the photos and kept bringing up the calculator somehow. He liked the last one I had done and asked what size it was and how much I charged. It was an 8×10″ and I told him it was $100. He said a 16×20″ would be twice as much cuz it’s twice as big as he chuckled. We said, no, that was 4 times as big, and I told him what I have charged for 16x20s. He held out the phone and said 16×20. I said that was an 8×10. He said 16×20. I said 8×10. He laughed and said 16×20. I asked the man next to me, “Does he want me to paint him a 16×20?”
He then asked if I was going to enlarge it with a machine? I asked him if he wanted a print and he looked at me and laughed. “You want me to paint you a 16×20? “Oh that will be lively,” he said. (Not lovely, lively). He took out his wallet and handed me two large bills and said he’d pay me the rest the next time he saw me. “Don’t worry, take your time” he chuckled.
So I’m painting a 16×20″ painting of the 8×10. And I’m chuckling.
I love skies. I find them easy to paint for the most part. And I love water. I enjoy painting water as well and usually I’m happy with the way it turns out. It’s all the “tidily bits” (as Dr. Who would say) in between I have trouble with… you know…the rest of the earth. Trees in particular give me grief. I’ve been in regions where there is a lack of trees, desert areas, new subdivisions, and I definitely prefer trees.
Without leaves they are very spikey and linear as opposed to the rest of my painting, which is more massive shapes. With leaves they can be frilly if I look too closely. They can be very GREEN for much of the year. I like the palm trees of the warmer states, with their huge fronds, tall thin trunks, and separateness.
So I here I put them in and take them out and try again and scape them out and just keep painting. Finally I am happy. “Sunset on the River” 8×10″ acrylic on gessobord panel, unframed, available for $100 via http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/andrea-jeris/sunset-on-the-river/397447