Monday, October 24, 2011

Trapper Now

Posted by: Dave
I am starting to move into first painting at this point. At this stage I always like to lay in the lightest and darkest notes in order to scale my values.
I begin to break up things into broad planes. As you can see, the face is still rather grey in chroma. I always find it best to work less chromatic and darker in the earlier layers. That way, lighter and more chromatic areas will be the thickest areas of paint as you build up more layers. The opposite is true of alla prima however. Always start overly chromatic in the beginning of a single session painting as it will gray as the colors mix together. This stage is about an hour and a half into the painting.
The piece as of now after a little less than 2 days of work. The photo is showing it quite a bit grayer than it actually is. I will continue to build paint and correct things, and break down forms as I go. This is the painting's "ugly stage." Paintings to me are a lot like kids. They start out attractive and exciting, then they go their their frustrating ugly pimply teenage years, and finally they look normal again whey they are all grown up.

If you have any questions about my techniques, ask them here.


  1. I asked if you were a "dork," and I got the response, "Signs Point to Yes." What are your color choices, and are you following the yellow-red-gray pattern from top to bottom of the face? It looks good.

  2. haha, touche innis, touche. I am using the old yellow-red-gray to set up the color harmonies. I am only using 5 colors for the flesh tones, orange vermillion, raw umber, yellow ochre pale, ivory black, and white. I believe they are the same colors the Cecil school uses (among other places) I like these colors quite a bit because they keep things from being overly chromatic, and more traditional looking, though my wife accuses me of being a "chromaphobe."

  3. Its the manifestation of post-colonial existentialism through a male gaze. Duh, thought that was pretty obvious.

  4. I'm pretty sure chromaphobia is a guy thing. When my wife and I were in art school, we'd always walk around campus and compare how we'd mix the colors of the objects we saw. My mixtures always started with gray, and it drove her crazy.

    Do you prefer yellow ochre pale (synthetic) to yellow ochre light (natural iron oxide)?

  5. Haha, I think you are right. My wife Kate's current work is so much brighter and more colorful than mine. I also just got really obsessed with that 19th century neutral color scheme.

    I find that I prefer to use Winsor Newton Yellow Ochre pale because the value is a bit lighter than most ochres, and it has good tinting properties. I also love the consistency. I don't have to much experience with yellow ochre light, but I assume it would be comparable in most regards. The Orange Vermillion I am using is from Zecchi's, and in all honesty, I don't trust it completely. Next tube will be from Natural Pigments. Just talking to George O' Handlin about paints makes me feel like a 12 year old in an advanced college chemistry class. I really love and trust their products.

    So I have this great idea. I need to give more artists nicknames that don't make any sense. That way, when you go to the PSA, people will ask about it. You can either be "the ox" or "the one punch wrecking machine." If anyone asks me about it, I will respond with "lets just say don't piss the guy off." What do you think?

  6. Obsessions to which I can relate.

    YO Pale is more chromatic, and a stronger tinting color. I guess that is why I prefer YO light.

    I hate W&N Yellow Ochre, and usually use Vasari YO now, which has the consistency and handling of W&N YO light. I've been considering getting the Rublev Blue Ridge YO which looks lighter, and more chromatic than most yellow ochres. Still it probably doesn't have the opacity of W&N YO pale. (BTW Natural Pigments is offering a shipping deal until the end of the month- don't know if it applies to your region, though).

    I only have one tube of Zecchi, and I've never punctured it. I have the same fears about Doak Paints; I never feel safe using them.

    "The Ox" sounds like it would bring too much attention to my weight, and "the one punch wrecking machine" is too long, though the word "punch" would keep people away from me and that suits my normal anti-social behavior. Could we combine the two? Matthew "The One-Punch Ox" Innis?

  7. I like that WN Yellow Ochre Pale is fairly opaque and chromatic and works well as a flesh tone color. We do have a tube of Rublev Yellow Ochre light, but it is a bit darker and browner than I would like for a flesh tone. I would say at least 1-1.5 values darker than WN Yellow Ochre Pale. I like that my vermillion and my YOP are comparable values. That being said, I would like to try to use some other brands in the future. I will say that I have been fairly happy with tubes of paint I have gotten from Blue Ridge. He studied making paint with Doak, and his prices are very affordable. Not to say I don't love Rublev as well.

    What about "the smashing machine"? That sounds pretty badass as well.

  8. In mixing lighter value flesh tones, the yellow ochre pale at values 6-9 were way more vivid then my other flesh colors, so I always felt like I was fighting against making everyone look sallow. Once I switched to YO light, the yellows seemed to neutralize at the same point of the value scale as my reds.

    I haven't tried the Blue Ridge paints yet, but i hear good things about them. Doak also gets raves, but he doesn't list his ingredients, and is old and cranky, and lives under a bridge.

    "Smashing Machine" works. Or "Smashing Ox." it's your nickname to bestow, so you should choose...