Friday, May 30, 2008

Painting with Jacob Collins

Yesterday Jeanette and I had the pleasure of painting alongside the Hudson River with Jacob Collins. Here is Jeanette's ballpoint pen sketch.

Jacob’s new landscape exhibition at the Hirschl and Adler gallery in New York was reviewed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. He is the founder of the Grand Central Academy of Art and the Hudson River School for Landscape.

The motif was a kilometer away from the parking area along a park road. I used a hand truck to carry the lunch, c-stands, and umbrellas. All my painting gear is in my backpack.

Jacob is holding a paintbox, a handmade palette in another box, two Munsell color swatch binders, and all his painting gear in his backpack.

We’re both using the Open Box M 10x12 pochade palette, which mounts on a camera tripod. We’re both wearing dark shirts to cut down on glare in a contre-jour view.

Both of us brought more stuff than we really needed. Neither of us used a separate hand-held palette, because we mixed the paint on the surface directly below the painting. My palette surface is white because I cover it with disposable freezer paper.

The light changed quite a lot during the five hours we spent there. Here’s my painting, which is very tiny: 6 x 12 canvas-covered sky panel.

Tomorrow I’ll be participating in the Millbrook Paint Out at the Thorne Building in Millbrook, New York.


JP said...

I especially love the color in your piece! I also like how the image seems to be broken into three vertically split sections...sort of a triptych in one piece.

I don't have a good travel set up yet for my oils, and I was looking at the openboxm setups. What, in your experience, is a good entry level setup for a relatively new oil painter intersted in painting on location?

Anonymous said...

Hey James,

This is a cool post, I'm a huge fan of Jacob Collins, especially his Figurative work. I'm surprised the two of you didn't get all your gear mixed up, when it was time to leave.


jeff said...

I have been using the Munsell book as well, is it possible to describe what Jacob did in his process using these in the field?

I just made a little hand held device out of black matte board that can hold a chip and you use it to spot or match up colors from objects or flesh. I have not use these out side yet and am working on a way to do so with out lugging those two huge folders around.

Unknown said...

Nice sketch by your talented wife Jim! I love it, I can tell she enjoys drawing! Lovely painting Jim!

Raluca said...

wonderful colors!

James Gurney said...

Thanks, everybody. John, I'll try to get around to a more comprehensive post on supplies. Jacob didn't use the Munsell binders this time, but he said he wanted to have them in case he needed to note down specific colors, kind of like the way I was using paint chips from the hardware store to evaluate sky colors, only the Munsell chips give everyone the same standard.

Maybe a Munsell aficionado can comment furthr.

jeff said...

I have the big books which are a work of art in them selves, 1500 hues at nine values.

The chips have notations for the hue, value, and chroma of all the colors in the color wheel.

On my blog there are two paintings (Plumbs, and Peaches) that I used the chips to find the local colors and I then mixed up a palette from these chips. I go back and forth with them, sometimes I use my palette knife and match using it, and sometimes I use the chips, the chips are better and I waste less paint and time as I am using them not mixing paint. I have been working with this on and off for almost a year.

The great thing is you can really start to understand how the values shift in relation to chroma which is a very subtle and sometimes difficult thing to get in painting.

They great thing is you have the notes of the exact HVC of a specific color if you need to mix up that color again. It's very quick, all the chips are notated with the HVC system. You can plot a whole painting using them. The chips are the gamut of color in pigments and they can help you organize a palette and suggest what is mixable.

For example say I have matched a tree's leaves to a local or the main mass of color to a 10Y-5/6 chip. The Munsell color wheel is in decimal points of 100 steps of equal visual change in hue.

Each hue has a sector 5 being the middle of that hues sector. So you move from Red to Yellow Red to Yellow and so on. It's the color wheel I use now it makes complete sense and it helps to see color in the three dimensions of HVC.

The Yellow is in the 10 position at value 5 and the 6th chroma. This means I can mix this again exactly every time. If I am painting a large painting this would be an invaluable tool as it speeds up the mixing process.

Also I have found that things do not appear as they seem, and the chips really help in training the eye to see color better.

For those interested David Briggs has a great site on the science of color
and the forum
is also another great place to get more information.
Graydon Parrish is the most knowledgeable in this area and he is the one who developed the idea of using Munsell in this way.

Before it was utilized by Frank Reilly who developed his palettes using Munsell as a base. Graydon is taken it to the next level.

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