Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Graydon Parrish Workshop - Fabric Study

Oil on Canvas Board and Set Up
I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to take another workshop with the amazing, talented, generous, patient...I could go on, Graydon Parrish. This is the third time I have had the opportunity to take one of his workshops (see Workshop 1 and Workshop 2 for more info) and every time I am amazed at how much I learn yet how relaxed and fun the process is.  When I learn on my own, it is more like a battle of wills and frustration and as I tend to learn by realizing what not to do....and then learning by the process.

The workshop was two weeks long during which time Graydon walked us through setting up the still life which he set up as a work of art in itself.  He showed us how to determine the colors of the fabric and how the light affects the hue, value and chroma.  He had us paint half a sphere and cube with the local color to better understand what we were seeing.  We then mixed the color strings we needed by matching the munsell chips to what we observed on the fabric.  Below is a photo of my palette with all of my paints mixed up.

Palette Before Painting Session
 I have all of my mixtures organized by hues first and then by value.  So I have two hues strings one a purple blue that leans towards yellow and one a purple blue that leans towards purple, in munsell speak, 2.5PB2/4, 2.5PB3/4 and 2.5PB4/4 and 5PB2/4, 5PB3/4 and  5PB4/4.  I also mixed up several darks to cover the range of darks observed in the fabric, a dark neutral, N1/ and a few more chromatic darks using the blues that I used to make the hue mixtures (ultramarine blue, winsor blue (yellow shade) and dioxazine purple) and a very dark chromatic black using peach black and a mix of ultramarine blue and winsor blue (yellow shade).  For the background I used my pretubed colors of a neutral grays, very handy I must say.  

While this sounds a little confusing and time consuming, it is actually quite simiple and quick once you get the hang of it and the best part is that all the work is done prior to starting the painting so once I paint, I only need to think about painting and do not have to shift between painting and mixing as much.  I still mix while I paint, but the shifts are so slight that it feels more like part of the painting process than actual mixing.  Below is a photo of my palette after the painting session.

Palette After Painting Session
My palette used to be so messed up after a painting session as I frantically searched for the correct mixtures, often running out of that perfect mix near the end of the session.  Then when I would come back to paint several days or weeks later, I would totally forget how I had achieved the mixtures and would waste more time trying to match up my new mixtures on my dry paint, not fun.

Now, using Munsell, I can easily match up the mixtures exactly and just carry on with fresh paint during the next session.  If I am going to be painting the next day or within about a week, I can freeze my paints until the next session but they do get a little stiff.  I am trying also putting a q-tip with clove oil in as well to see if that helps.  Below is a photo of my palette after being in the freezer overnight.

Frozen Paint
As you can see I have to label everything as my memory totally sucks the older I get!  For more paint storage tips check out my Paint Storage Tips

Graydon then walked us through the entire process from the drawing to the finish all the while teaching us to think and see the full effect rather than just the object that was in front of us.   There were a couple of students working at the first and second level and Graydon had them working on other projects such as painting cubes like the ones below.

Tanya Bone Painting Cubes
Painted Cubes
Painting of Cubes

I have learned so much and can't wait to apply everything over the next few months.  I will also be teaching an oil painting class starting in September and while we will not be using Munsell per se, we will definitely be applying much of what I have learned.

If you would like to join me, please visit http://register.asapconnected.com/StaffDetails.aspx?pk=24306 for more information and to register.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Tips for Storing Oil Paint Between Sessions

Well, that was fun, well fun like a long workout is when you are done ;) It definitely helps to have good music when paint mixing as sometimes it can seem like it can take forever to get the exact mix you are looking for. 

It is so worth it though as there is nothing better than having all of your paint premixed in clean little tubes so that you can squish out fresh paint every time you paint.   I have thought of mixing while sipping a glass wine or martini but I am sure I would end up with very sub par mixes ;)

I don't premix all my colors but I find it so helpful to premix a flesh palette as I may not get the chance to paint every day, especially in the summer, and there is nothing worse than mixing up your paint and then having to through it all out because it did not keep between sessions. 

Also, as some days I only have an hour to two to paint and if I have all of my colors premixed, I get to spend almost all of the time painting rather than getting ready to paint.  Of course, even when premixing the mixes are merely starting points but they create a sense of harmony and consistency.

Tubing is not for everyone though so I listed a few other ways to keep your paint usable between sessions.  Oil paint does not actually dry out, it oxides due to contact with the air.  So the key is to slow down the oxidization by limiting the amount of air the oil is exposed to.  I have tried all the methods below and they all work, depending on the size of paint nugget left and the amount of time the paint is left out.  I listed them in order of my preference after tubing as nothing compares to fresh paint ;)


Pure Clove Oil - clove oil actually slows down the oxidization of the paint.  If you have a sealed container, place your palette inside the container at the end of a painting session.  Dip a q-tip in pure clove oil quickly as you don't want too much clove oil, just dampen the cotton.  I use a bit of masking tape and tape the q-tip to the box and close the lid.  I have had paint last over a week during a summer heat wave this way.

I use this method for plein air painting and the first time I tried it I used too much clove oil and my paint was a little runny so I just use a little oil now.  I also use it in the studio now (duh, I don't know why I didn't sooner) as I like this method because I paint mostly using the indirect method which uses smaller piles of paint and I find that it prevents a skin from forming more so than freezing.

I like the smell of clove oil but it can get pretty strong so when I am painting, I remove the q-tip and put it in a zip lock bag while I am painting and then just put it back on the palette after my session.  You can also add the oil directly to the paint (1 drop per 1 inch of paint squeezed from the tube) but I don't like to do that as I like my paint to dry once rather quickly during painting so I can paint the next day if I want to...and I always want to ;)


Freezing paint - works best for paint storage for a few days depending on the size of the paint nugget. he larger the better.  Try to keep paint in thicker piles, scrapping up to a peak if needed and I like to cover with saran wrap and gentle pat down to create a seal between the paint and the surface (I usually put on an piece of glass or disposable palette paper).  I have several pieces of glass, some that are tempered and thicker so I don't need to tape the edges.  This one I grabbed from a cheapo dollar store picture frame and taped it to a piece of neutral gray painted board for support.  Also, the tape protects the edges from chipping and from cutting me.  You lose a bit of paint on the saran wrap when you take it off but it prevents the air from reaching the paint even more and will keep longer.


Under Water - crazy but it works!  Fill a tray with at least an inch of filtered water, with your paints on a piece of glass or water resistant surface (mine is a piece of grey plastic), flip the surface upside down so that the paints are fully submerged in the water.  This method works great, when you are ready to paint, just take out your palette and blot off water with paper towel. 

The only issue with this method is that if you forget to refill the water and the paint dries out...yeah, so my paint is still stuck to my palette...I will have to scrape that off at some point ;)