Monday, May 28, 2012

Back To Plein Air

Yesterday morning I met my paint out buddy Ginger at the Stone House for our first plein air session of this year.

The light was a bit surreal as Colorado has been inundated with smoke from the huge fire in New Mexico.  (Wishing those folks safety and relief from the inferno.) It has been hazy here for a few days, and our Colorado Blue sky has been a very washed out gray..

However, it became a beautiful day, with temperatures in the low 70's by the time we finished.

Ginger was painting in watercolor, a bit of a change for her.

I was set up with oils and my Guerrilla Painter Cigar Box.  I love this contraption; it is very simple and attaches to a heavy duty tripod,

Guerilla Painter Cigar Box

The panel holder will take standard sizes of 5" x 7", 6" x 8", and 8" x 10".

 I rigged up a way to hold smaller panels, in this case 4" x 6", by attaching a piece of 5" x 7" mat board to the back of each using double stick tape (Scotch brand, yellow label).

I initially was concerned that the tape might not hold up to the weight of the panel itself combined with the pressure of paint strokes, but it worked great!  I made up several of these to carry with me in the field.  They are light weight and fit into a pocket of my rolling pack, which houses all of my other plein air gear.

There is a panel adapter for a 4" x 6" panel that is manufactured for the Guerrilla Painter boxes.  You can find it and other Guerrilla Painter products on the Judsons Art Outfitters website by clicking here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New Color? It's all in a name!

When I recently shopped online for more tubes of paint, I discovered a color made by Schmincke Mussini called "Caesar Purple".   It sounded interesting and unlike anything I had, so I ordered a tube since it was on sale.

Caesar Purple

(FYI:  My background is in the technical and scientific community.  I have always loved research, number crunching, and discovering what the foundation of a product is.)

Apparently, Caesar Purple was nothing new to my palette. According to the ASTM label, the color index name is PV-19, or Quinacridone Violet.  I purchased this online, and this information was not provided on the website.  If it had been, it's unlikely I would have ordered it.

It turns out that I already had FOUR tubes of paint with the PV-19 designation:  Gamblin's Radiant Magenta (which is mixed with Titanium White), Gamblin's Quinacridone Red, Grumbacher's Thalo Red Rose; and Winsor Newton's Permanent Rose.  And there probably are duplicates of these lurking in the studio somewhere...

Silly me!  I was charmed by the name of the product, and it's obvious that I love this color.  Why else would I now have FIVE tubes of it?

To compare the different brands, I charted them out.

Color Chart
Various Brands of Tube Paint Pigment PV-19
It's obvious that four of the rows match up (the bottom row, Radiant Magenta, has that white premixed with it).  But, wait a minute!  Caesar Purple (the middle) looks very different from the other tubes of PV-19.  It has a lot more blue to it.  What is going on here?  Has it been mislabeled by the manufacturer?  What aren't they telling me? An investigation into this anomaly has begun, and I will revisit this in a future post.

Even though it is labeled with the same color index name, it looks like Caesar Purple really is something new to my collection.

PV-19 is a useful color for me, working its way into the background shadows, tempering the brightness from yellows and yellow-greens.

And, I guess I'd better use up my current supply before I order any more.

Which brings me to my next point:  Manufacturers' Labels

Most of the manufacturers do provide the ASTM color index names on their paint tubes, which allows you, the artist, to see what pigment you are really getting.  Try to ignore the fancy names (NOT what I did!), and stick to the numbering system.  More information about this can be found in Michael Wilcox's excellent reference books on color - information available on the website at, where you can purchase all sorts of terrific reference materials, as well as his signature paints.

And, yes, there are some manufacturers out there who do not identify their colors with the color index names printed on the paint tubes.  Even though I occasionally buy a color on a whim (Caesar Purple, anyone?), I prefer to know what I really am buying.

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Work: Old Friend

A couple of days ago I posted a new piece that I completed for an upcoming exhibit in June.  Here is another completed oil for that show.  This painting includes two of the themes from the show: wheels and ribbons.

"Old Friend"
9" x 12"

Although making the wood grain was challenging, this was great fun to paint.  This dog is something my father found at a county fair for my daughter when she was very young.  A simple thing, it frequently participated in races through the house and truly is an "Old Friend."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Preliminary Gamblin Paint Review

I like the new Gamblin "radiant" colors so much that I ordered the rest of the radiant palette.  They arrived last week (along with a few other colors I needed to refill). So here is the complete Radiant color palette from Gamblin:

I've been going through the Gamblin paints website and have found that there is some very good information for oil painters.  I've marked it as one of my favorite sites, so that I can return to it quickly in the future.

Getting new materials for painting is always an exciting adventure for me.  These paints are great, with a smooth buttery texture that I love.  They are made of quality pigments (referencing the Wilcox ratings), so permanence is assured.  These have a luminosity of "7" and, so, are good for the higher key portions of a painting, or a way to introduce light into darker passages.  The Gamblin "Radiants" have found their way onto my palette.

Radiant Smiley Face C:


Saturday, May 19, 2012

New Work: A Cheerful Spot

Just finished this 10" x 10" oil on stretched canvas. 

A Spot of Cheer
10" x 10"
This will be going into a show in June at the Lakewood Arts Council Members Gallery.  Five of us who belong to the LAC Co-op gallery are hanging this show, with themes varying from cows and trees to wheels and fish.  A Cheerful Spot goes with the "leaves" theme.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dreaming of a Workshop

One of the artists I follow is Dreama Tolle Perry.  I love her loose brushwork and captivating color.  Her latest news included a link to her workshops for 2013 (Sorry, but 2012 is all full).  I just wanted to give her a shout out and send you over to her workshop link.  I hope some of you wll be able to sign up for one of her workshops.

Click here to go to Dreama's 2013 Workshop List

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lucky Me!

Every once in a while, we need to be treated to something special.  Sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to do something a bit extravagant, as long as it doesn't adversely affect those close to us.  And so, I did this thing...

I have been an admirer of Carol Marine's work for some time now, and when she posted her piece "Old Trippers" I could not resist entering the bidding frenzy.  I got lucky and won, and I am so excited!

So, check out Carol Marine's paintings and send her love.