My New Thing
I've taken on a new artistic medium – film! I've always wanted to make videos so that I could share the process of creating a painting, but I was intimidated about the effort required to learn a completely new skill. However, recently I had the opportunity to study the basics of creating and editing video, so I took the plunge and created my first video, "Cafe de Flore: the Beginning"
How I Did It
For this first video, I used my iPhone to record a few painting sessions in stop-motion. Then, using iMovie software, I spliced them together with still frames of the painting at different stages. Then I added music, a voice-over, and a few other bells and whistles that I learned about.
That sounds very simple, doesn't it? Well, it wasn't. At every step I was stymied by things that didn't work the way I thought they should, and things I didn't understand. The whole process took waaaay longer than I expected.
But I persisted. I went to the Apple store twice to take classes on iMovie (those guys are great). I asked friends for comments on my work. And I let go (mostly) of all the little things that are still wrong about this video.
Putting It All Together
I do wish I hadn't been working on a painting that is just greys. But that was what was on my canvas at the time and I was itching to start. And now I can share with you the final painting in full color, which shows the result of those early grey planning layers.
I really enjoyed making and editing this video and I plan to do more. Please stay tuned.
Also, I'd love to hear your comments below. Thanks.
I'm constantly tweaking my palette. I'll add a new color that gives me a hue I couldn't mix before or delete something I'm no longer using, but I've kept the same general palette for years.
However, a while ago I replaced almost all of my colors at the same time. This allowed me to change the look of my paintings and more easily mix a wide range of lighter values Here's what happened.
My First Palette of Colors
When I began painting I focused on portraits. The traditional portrait palette is composed of mineral pigments (see explanation below), with colors primarily selected to be able to mix skin tones and include a wide range of reds, yellows, and browns, along with a few blues.
You'll notice that there are no secondary colors on this palette; no oranges, violets, or greens. In order to have more control I tend to mix those colors from my primary colors (red, yellow and blue) instead of buying secondary tube paints.
I used the above palette for many years, making slight variations when I began to paint landscapes and genre paintings.
The Big Switch
Then I heard about a new line of colors offered by Gamblin, my favorite brand of paints. Gamblin assembled a range of their modern organic pigments (see explanation below). These pigments are much more intense than what I had been working with and they retain their intensity when mixed with white.
For each color, Gamblin created a new companion tint, which they call Radiant Colors. Which just means they offered a tube of that color mixed with a lot of white.
What's on My New Palette
Look to the bottom left of the above palette. The dark pile is Phalo Turquoise, and to the right of it is a puddle with some added white to better show the hue. Above it is a pile of Radient Turquoise, which is simply tinted Phalo Turquoise, meaning it has a lot of added white. Moving clockwise from through to the yellows, you can see all my paints and their corresponding tints. On the right side are greys and Titanium White.
What's so exciting about mixing a paint with white?
Well, these modern colors are so strong its difficult to make a light color without overshooting the mark and wasting paint. Having the tints of each color already mixed allows me to make light colors more precisely and is a big time and paint saver.
What This Means For My Paintings
You can see the difference between the two palettes in the paintings above. The old palette, at left, has more earth tones, the brightest colors aren't very bright, and the neutrals tend to be muted.
With the new palette, on right, I can make very bright brights along with neutrals, like in the building and sidewalk, with a subtle range of colors. Even with only small touches of color, the painting feels very bright because of the intensity of the colors. Of course, neither one is better than the other. It's just a question of style and intent.
Changing an entire palette does take some getting used to. The new colors are really strong and can easily take over my painting, so I don't recommend them for beginners. While I'm still learning about what I can do with these new tools, I'm very pleased with the results so far and I'm having fun with it.
By the way, Gamblin Paint Company has lots of useful information on their website about paints and colors, including information on mineral and modern colors, and their line of Radiant Paints.
I'd love to hear from you. Please drop me a note below to let me know your thoughts on my new palette and if this post was useful.