Thursday, May 13, 2010

Orange Tang

Happy Thursday Everyone--Am busy today getting my paintings packed up for the Harvard Gulch Spring Artisan Show this Saturday, May 15 from 9A-2P.  Be sure to stop by if you are in the area! This is my first time participating and I'm looking forward to it. I love these small shows for selling my smaller works and of course it's fun to shop at the other art and craft booths as well.

Have also been busy playing with my new iPad (which I got for my birthday this week--yes I'm older and wiser now...) Am looking forward to trying some of the iPad painting and drawing apps like Brushes.  I also received Quang Ho's Still Life painting DVD and I can't wait to watch it. As some of you may recall, I received his "Nuts & Bolts" DVD for the holidays and while I loved it, am really looking forward to a longer demo.

A real quick thanks to my new Monday painting group at the Curtice Studio in Littleton--it's been great to get to know all of you, see what you are working on, and I look forward to lots of great painting projects this summer. There are still a few tables available for the Monday open studio painting so please email me if you'd like to join.

Finally, here's a quick oil painting study I did of a small bronze Tang horse that I found many years ago at a tag sale. The symbol in the corner is my interpretation of "horse" in Chinese calligraphy.  OK, better get back to my show prep. Thanks for stopping in and have a great rest of your day!

P.S. Did you see Cheap Joe's art catalog has Free Shipping this week? Use code CJ24 until Sat. at checkout. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What's on your palette??

Since Thursday is usually my watermedia day I decided to do a abstract bird painting (Thorn Bird) with a watercolor triad including both opaque and transparent pigments, here I used Quin Gold, Cad Red Light, and a dark blue I rarely use, Indathrene (or sometimes Indathrone) Blue (PB 60).

According to Handprint (my go to site for paint pigment info) Indathrone is:  "Usually an inessential pigment, PB60 mixes muted violets or maroons with quinacridone carmine, and is an effective portrait or figure shadow color in tints, but its darks and shadows can appear grayish or obtrusive."

Uh oh, with info like that I feel my left brain kicking in...Seriously, though, I feel very strongly that artists should know what pigments they are painting with. I love the sound of painting with "Moonglow" too and yes I confess I own a tube of this lovely Daniel Smith paint, but what the heck is it? (BTW, it's a melange of  Ultramarine, Viridian, and Alizarin Crimson.)
Can you imagine cooking with mystery spices? It just doesn't make sense. Most tube paints (oil, acrylic, and oil) are labeled with a pigment code starting with "P"--The Pigment Codes used are fairly straight forward:

    * PB = Pigment Blue
    * PBk = Pigment Black
    * PBr = Pigment Brown
    * PG = Pigment Green
    * PO = Pigment Orange
    * PR = Pigment Red
    * PV = Pigment Violet
    * PW = Pigment White
    * PY = Pigment Yellow

A number then follows to indicate the exact pigment. For example some common blues are:  PB29 Ultramarine Blue, PB15 Pthalocyanine, PB28 Cobalt, PB35 Cerulean, etc. If your paint tube label says, for example, Cobalt Blue Hue but has no PB28 it is likely a manufactured substitute mixture from other pigments including often white.

Why does all this matter? Well for one thing, I feel that the more I know my pigments and their tendencies the more confident painter I am in any media--especially when I am mixing colors. For another, like many artists I own at least a dozen brands of paint, so for me the Pigment Code helps me work across brands more easily.

And, as many of you may have noticed, paint color names (what is Dragon's Blood or Renaissance Green??) can vary from brand to brand so I always check the pigment code  to be sure I'm getting what I'm looking (and paying) for.

Yes, the same pigments can vary from manufacturer but at least we know we are "in the ballpark" with PB29 no matter what the tempting paint name (French Ultramarine just sounds better doesn't it?).  For more info regarding pigments check out the Handprint website as I mentioned above or Michael Wilcox's excellence reference books on pigments.   

Whew--that was more than a brief side note, but as you can tell I'm passionate about color and in the end, when we paint, color is pigment. For more info about my classes or open studio Monday workshop please email me. Have a colorful week!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Morning Chickens

Well, today is "the big day"--I'm just about to pack up to head off to my new group class at the Curtice Street Art Studio in Littleton.  As much as I love teaching in my home studio one on one most of the week, I'm really looking forward to to teaching a new group.

For those of you who've been lucky enough to be in a painting, art, or creative group you know it can be a great place to find new ideas, support, and personal growth. I can't recommend it enough. At first you may feel a bit "exposed" painting in a group (I sure did) but I quickly got used to it and in fact came to love the instant comments and feedback from other artists. Painting with dozens of artists each week also gave me the opportunity to learn a wide variety of techniques that would have taken me years to learn otherwise. Or have never tried on my own.

This is one of my favorite watercolors (it's a collection of one my watercolor mentor's wooden chickens) from that time. Like many artists, I've often struggled with keeping the act of creating art enjoyable with my desire to excel at and grow my craft.  So this painting also reminds me not to take art too seriously and to have no fear.  Plus, it's always a fun challenge to paint a collection of things. I'm certain viewers and buyers sense too when you've enjoyed yourself during the painting process.  

So on that note, whatever you paint this week, be be bold, be yourself, be creative, and have fun! See you in the studio...P.S. I'll be sparticipating in the Harvard Gulch Community Center Art Festival on Saturday, May 15. There will be about 30-40 local Denver artists selling affordable arts and crafts from 9AM to 2PM. Be sure to check it out if you are in the area!