Monday, June 4, 2018

Tip for Painting Efficiently in Oil

If you’re working in oil, you can premix pools of color that you’re going to use a lot. That way you won’t have to waste your time mixing the same color again and again.

Spend a few minutes at the beginning planning your color. Decide on the gamut (the range of colors in the scene). Which colors are in, and which ones are out, of your color scheme? Which colors show up the most? And what are the rare accents? 

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Use a palette knife to mix a string of about four or five values of those frequently used colors. If you want to get a little variation in your color, you can mix a warmer and a cooler variation of each major color.


Unknown said...
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Richard said...

I "set" and "open" my oil paint palette BEFORE I go out to paint.

In fact, since I paint almost everyday, I always have a palette ready which I store in my freezer. There's a lot of variety of how long a particular paint stays "open", but most last for months. Some skin over, but I can break through and get enough to use. (Some people use an air-tight container and oil of cloves in a small jar instead of freezing.) .

In addition to setting my palette, I "open" it by premixing colors before I go out. But instead of trying to match what I think I am going to need, I mix about 7 values of green, cobalt blue, and gray and lay out reds and yellows from tubes.

The advantage is if I need a grayed light valued blue, for instance, I can pick up some light value gray and mixed it with light value blue, and I have what I want right away. There is no need to mix a string of yellow or red since Cadmium Yellow and Red come in light, medium, dark, and very dark (sometimes called "dark dark") Add Alizarin Crimson and you have it all. It sounds like I'm using a lot of paint, but tubes last for years since there is really very little paint used on a small canvas of the type one takes out.

What my palette looks like is a grid. There are columns and rows of little mounds of color. Each column has the same value but different chroma. For example, the first column is lightest value of yellow, blue, green, and gray. It's particularly helpful with creating atmospheric (arial) perspective, what you once reviewed by the Dutch term "Houding". When painting I choose what paint to use rather than mixing constantly.

By the way, this would be called a "prismatic palette", of course.


Richard said...

I forgot to include Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Orange Deep (both Gamblin). The Very Deep Cadmium Yellow is very close to Cadmium Orange which is very close to Cadmium Orange Deep. But the subtle difference is useful at times, and I think the brain make more use of the differences than we think. Orange hue is known as a "fuzzy set" where the borders on one side with yellow and on the other side with red are vague and often seen differently by different people.


Unknown said...

Hi James,
I thought I read on your blog somewhere that it is possible to use watercolor paper for oil painting, but you have to coat the paper with something first..maybe it was acrylic matte medium ?

Do you ever paint on wood ?

thank you,

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