Sunday, September 29, 2013

Challenge Day 29: Two for One Sunday

"Carol's Colors" oil study on Ampersand Gesso Panel 8x10
Focus and time limits - works for me. Small size canvases are also good tools to increase focus. (Liz Reday)

I had a really easy decision for my second to last day of the painting challenge this morning. Thankfully Carol Marine offered up this gorgeous sunlit autumn leaves photo for this week’s DPW painting challenge.

I rarely use photos other than my own but I just loved the glow of the leaves and colors in this. My other Sunday goal (allowing me some Broncos game time) was to “get in and get out” and do this 8x10 study in under two hours.

This required some upfront planning but can definitely save you painting time in the long run.  First, I took a few minutes to crop the photo reference. Selecting my own composition helps me not only familiarize myself with the subject but also gets me thinking about the painting before I start.

Next, I grabbed an already warm toned  8 x 10 Ampersand Gessoboard. While I usually prefer the tooth of linen or cotton panels, I find loose and fast brushstrokes work well on this smooth hard surface.  

My other tip is that in general fast=keep it simple. For example, I used just three transparent primary pigments and white. This not only enhances your color harmony but it makes color mixing decisions much easier.  Here my three oil paints were ultramarine blue, Indian yellow and alizarin crimson. (Note : Thalo, lemon, and permanent rose would have been an interesting choice here too.)

Another key factor is what I like to call painting “mise en place.” You may have heard chefs use this term in a busy kitchen. It basically means your initial organization and "everything in its place." This prep helps ensure that your painting time stays on track.  

Finally, thanks to everyone who has taken the time to stop by and comment in September--I greatly appreciate all your interest and support during the challenge!


  1. I have really enjoyed seeing your unique work during this challenge. Love your use of color.

  2. That's such a nice comment, thanks Pam! It was a pleasure painting this month knowing that there were so many other artists out there with the same challenge!

  3. Bravo to you for the 30/30 Challenge! I really love the colorful energy in your work, especially these leaves.

  4. Thanks very much D--these leaves were so much. Have to thank Ms.Marine for the awesome pic!