Color is Not Enough

Sometimes I start with color…
I think color will be enough, because I am mad for color…

But color is never enough.
There is the line, and it has a lot to say.

Because you can’t read my handwriting:
Playing with color is intuitional.
You have to let go and trust your instincts.
When you are learning there is that time when you are doing this or that
because a techniques been taught, but then at some point,
there is the medium, the materials, and you playing
following the color the line….
And you set the editor / student / critic aside
and let go into that moment.
You don’t know what will happen.
It is scary, exciting, thrilling, fun, and time is no where.

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Hahnemühle Post Cards, NOT, 12, Prickley Pear

It was an honest mistake.
I paint on Hahnemühle Post Card so often I just assumed that I’d grabbed one in the middle-of-the-night… so sad after finishing to send off that it wasn’t a postcard!
I wondered why the watercolor paper was lifting… duh!

Still, I love this one!  From a photo by Mary Lou McCambridge.

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Fire, Wind, Rain: and Photography Exposures

I’ve been upset about the first, then they were topped by worry for friends in Texas and Florida…  Painting images loosely from photos that stayed in my mind helped.

In these, more than most, I noticed the exposure (flash or not, and lighting)
changed the feeling of a sketch… do you see that or is it me?

I was trying for loose… feel like I did that in the hurricane sketch.

I think the lalaland fire sketch muddied up, but M tells me he think it fits the subject.
What do you think?

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My other job….

I am also a conservator, and we have the charge to recreate the first flag of the
State of Washington.  I will be creating the painted medallion on the flag, and doing the hand stitching (endless), and Mitchell is recreating the pattern for the flag.
I thought you all might like to see the other painting I do!
From our MPF Conservation blog:

I created test sheets for oil versions of George.
Two coats of shellac seals the paper for the oil paint.
It is nice to use old shellac which can no longer be used on furniture!

Phthalo Green and Chromium Oxide Green mixed match the green silk.
I want to paint the paper I am doing trials on green, because paints will change considerably when painted on bright white, cream, or the lovely green of the silk.

I also painted a sheet to go behind my mixing tray.  I tore the rectangular sheets  so
they created the squares on which I would paint George’s face, leaving me test papers.

I am mixing the paints today, and they will completely dry before I venture close
to the historic flag with the sample sheets.  NO chances are taken, ever!
It appears the darker colors will be the ones I want to double-check
against the historic flag, because the darker blues and greens and browns
tend to change radically when a flash hits them, shown above,
and I am mixing against images, not the historic.

A side note: I had a color blind friend who decided that he wanted to please himself in his apartment, instead of having someone else pick paint colors for his friends to see.
I won a bet against my whole tribe of architectural buddies that I could match exactly the hideous salmon pink paint color he painted his kitchen!  This is to say I am fairly confident I will come close in these colors, to blending the right mixes for George.

I have a few zones of color to explore in matching and blending:
coat (collar and body, buttons and epaulets); hair; skin; background, which is a green
that changes over the body of the medallion from a greyed-green to a blue-green.

The collar is a blend of Naples Yellow, moving to a creamier version with the Titanium-Zinc White, and going darker with Raw Sienna, Asphaltum, or Burnt Umber.  I will want to hold up the darker mixtures to double-check them against the original flag.
The buttons and epaulets demand brilliance with added Gold Ochre.
(Gold Ochre is the second from the bottom; Yellow Ochre below is too dull.)

The blues were hard to see when looking at the images.
I see the body of the uniform as an Indanthrone or Prussian base,
with Cobalt Blue added to either to mix.  The blue is not one color,
but changes across the uniform as the light and shadow play.

I was prepared to mix George’s skin tones, but Gamblin’s Caucasian Flesh was a
such a good base match from which to mix.  George’s face is a challenge to reproduce, because I am not adept at portraits, and his is full of color!  I am looking it not as if it is a face, but a landscape to reproduce.  For the slight blush or ruddy skin tone it will be Cadmium Red Light or Medium.  Gold Ochre plays into areas around the eyes
and just above the eyebrow.  I played with the d=shadow, adding Asphaltum,
Burnt Umber, and Raw Sienna… none were quite right.  I remembered Robert Gamblin talking about Torrit Grey, and squished all my palette paint leftovers together,
and mixed them into a grey — THAT GREY looks like the right shadow color!

The green background moves from a darkened Phthalo Green (slightly blue)
to Chromium Oxide Green highlighting his face, lifting your eyes up.
The greens chosen to mix (bottom of the blues) are the second, fourth, and fifth —
with a little Naples Yellow thrown in!

George’s hair is not pure white, though he has a good deal of white in it.
I see touches of grey, and Gamblin’s Warm Grey or a blend of Naples Yellow and Titanium-Zinc White.  In shadow at the bottom of the curls is Paynes Grey.

I cannot hope to create an exact replica, but I am attempting to recreate
the painted medallion with the types of strokes and colors and looseness
the original artist used when s/he painted George.

To begin at the beginning, visit Washington State Flag, 1.

MPFC will be posting from time to time as we make interesting progress to share;
sign-up for posts if you are interesting in following the progress.

Visit our next post, Washington State Flag 9, when published!

©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use.
May be reposted if our url + copyright is used as reference.

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Eagle Creek Fire Rain

The evening the rains came after the Eagle Creek fire, I felt so blessed.
Skies which were grey with smoke and ash falling, suddenly had the blue of night.
Actual color, yellow from the setting sun and the green of the West Hills, was discernible.
The air smelled like wet city and trees outside our window.

I’m heartbroken by this fire, by fleeing animals in the city, from trees practically screaming, from humans fleeing not knowing if their homes businesses would burn,
fear for the firefighters.  The fire effected us so much — depressed us stressed us,
made us feel trapped too.  Days I could not breathe.

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Tools: Da Vinci Watercolors

I was able to buy a couple of Da Vinci watercolors half-off with free shipping.

*i wanted to see if i liked them… nooo, not quite truthful…
i am a watercolor tube addict and could not stop myself…
i am going to Santa Barbara sometime soon and hope to score a tour!

i feel better now being honest with you.*

I picked three quinacridones because it is by far my favorite pigment.
Right out of the tube I played a bit to see the colors on a back page.  Very nice.

Their Alizarin Crimson is supposed to be amazing in that it is a light-fast alizarin.
It is a lovely color, used here with Matteo Grilli‘s Carmine for the deeper bloody red.
Da Vinci handled beautifully for the trial, and I layered it for deeper colors.

The Rose Dore is a keeper.  A beautiful coral color that layers beautifully.
I don’t have this color in any tube without mixing, and that is a boon,
especially as I become addicted to flower sketches in the
middle-of-the-night and don’t use white hardly ever.

All this made me want to look at the Quinacridone Gold
in comparison to other QG’s in my palette, and some that mimic QG.
They are not all keepers, and I like them for different reasons.
Holbein’s QG is by far my favorite, as it is creamy and smooth,
and works wonderfully in skin tones mixed with peach or pink (like the two shown above).
Constantly replacing tubes….

Daniel Smith’s QG and QG Burnt Orange are both keepers,
but they are granular by comparison and I don’t use them often.
Aussie Gold, which I was seduced into buying
*remember i am an addict and i was vulnerable in bed sick at the time*
is a mixture of PY 83 Diarylide Yellow, PR 101 Transparent Red Oxide,
PV 19 Quinacridone Red.  A keeper, though frivolous, because of its brilliance!
QoR QG Deep is a meh pigment, especially for the price,
and is in the Burnt Sienna family visually.
I’d reach for DS QG Burnt Orange, Sennelier’s 211 or Daniel Smith’s Pompeii instead.
Da Vinci’s QG is a keeper.  Smooth, lovely color, less yellow than Holbien’s.
I always have room for a good Quin Gold!

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Alizarin Gladioli

Middle-of-the-night, deep inky-maroon gladioli challenged me!
The Da Vinci Alizarin Crimson is semi-transparent, but the secondary top color had to be quite opaque, and i don’t like nor work well with opaque paints.
I painted them in my Nostalgie journal, and it is amazing the amount of wet paint the journal take — I had not realized how much water I’d use when I started in it!
Not quite what I wanted, but happy middle-of-the-night painter!

I love country… RIP Don Williams.

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