Full Watercolor Palette

I've decided to post my full my full watercolor palette that I've settle on for watercolor work. Some things have changed since I started out. I'll also be using a palette with less paints for classes. This has been the palette I've stuck with for a while now:

High Chroma

  • Quinacridone Magenta, PR122 - W&N 5ml
  • Pyrrole Red, PR254 - M. Graham 15ml
  • Pyrrole Orange, PO73 - M. Graham 15ml
  • "Indian Yellow", PY110 - M. Graham 15ml
  • "Azo Yellow",  PY151 - M. Graham 15ml
  • Phthalo Green, PG7 - M. Graham 15m
  • "Turquoise", PG7 + PB15 - M. Graham 15ml
  • Phthalo Blue (Red Shade), PB15:0 - M. Graham 15ml
  • "Winsor Violet", PV23 - W&N 5ml

Mid Chroma

  • "Burnt Sienna", PBr7 - M. Graham 15ml
  • "Raw Sienna", PBr7 - M. Graham 15ml
  • Cobalt Teal, PB28 - M. Graham 15ml
  • Cobalt Blue, PB28 - M. Graham 15ml

Low Chroma + Darks

  • Titanium White, PW6 - M. Graham 15ml
  • "Sepia", PBk6 + PBr7 - M. Graham 15ml
  • "Raw Umber", PBr7 - M. Graham 15ml
  • Perylene Black, PBk31 - W&N 14ml
  • "Paynes Gray", PB15 + PV19 + PBk6 - W&N 14ml
  • Ivory Black, PBk9 - M. Graham 15ml
  • "Neutral Tint", PV19 + PG7 - M. Graham 15ml

I've got a lot of High Chroma paints in that list but you'd be surprised how rarely I use some of them. I do use a lot of Azo Yellow though for grasses and trees. The companies these paints come from are very important! Paints with the same name can be totally different colors and have different handling characteristics.

Ill be posting the class palette I'll be using soon also. It will feature less paints to let people get the feel first. Got a few decision to finalize on that front...

Landscape Classes in Lexington KY

I've recently made a move to Lexington KY. Beginning in in the next month or so I will begin teaching watercolor classes in Lexington and the surrounding counties. It beautiful here and hard to find a bad view!  

Clark County

Clark County

I'll be posting more info once I get the details worked out! 

Paint Club - March 9th

 

Paint Club meet up

Date - March 9th.

Time - 11am going till 4pm. Bring snacks if you want to eat!

Location - This will be the last meet up at the LA River. We're going to be at the footbridge that crosses between the Tennis Lola complex and West Legion Lane. The bridge is known as the "Sunnynook Footbridge". This location gives access to several views. We can paint from the bridge or venture down into the river itself. There are no bathrooms at this location but we are a few blocks drive from the main Glendale Blvd. strip where there are several coffee shops and cafes so keep that in mind.

Parking- The best way to park is to come from the Atwater Village side and park along West Legion Lane. There is parking along the strip on the river side of the street.

Here's the usually breakdown for the day:

11am- We start then so that I can spend some time going over the core principles that will be covered in Paint Club and everyone can choose their spot.
12ish- We'll take a break so people can take rest room breaks and eat if they brought food.
1-4pm- Painting! At this point anyone who wants to paint can or you can feel free to watch me demo some of the methods and techniques I'll be using and teaching. We'll paint for about 3hrs and possibly longer if people want to stay.

The forecast for this Sunday is sunny. Bring sunscreen, a hat or anything else you might want for sun protection. In the case of rain I'll post an update on my website if we cancel. Just to remind everyone, the first class is free so this class works out to essentially be free for everyone. Come check it out and see what it's about. And you are under no obligation to paint or bring any supplies the first day so feel free to just watch and ask questions!

Painting location, and possibly times, change every week. I'll update every week here, on my blog, on my Facebook page, via my class news letter and through Blue Rooster's email list.

 

Paint Club - Feb 16th

Paint Club meet up

Date - February 9th.

Time - 11am going till 4pm. Bring snacks if you want to eat!

Location - Class will be at the LA River again. We're going to be at the footbridge that crosses between the Tennis Lola complex and West Legion Lane. The bridge is known as the "Sunnynook Footbridge". This location gives access to several views. We can paint from the bridge or venture down into the river itself. There are no bathrooms at this location but we are a few blocks drive from the main Glendale Blvd. strip where there are several coffee shops and cafes so keep that in mind.

Parking- The best way to park is to come from the Atwater Village side and park along West Legion Lane. There is a little dirt strip on the river side of the street.

Here's the usually breakdown for the day:

11am- We start then so that I can spend some time going over the core principles that will be covered in Paint Club and everyone can choose their spot.
12ish- We'll take a break so people can take rest room breaks and eat if they brought food.
1-4pm- Painting! At this point anyone who wants to paint can or you can feel free to watch me demo some of the methods and techniques I'll using in use. We'll paint for about 3hrs and possibly longer if people want to stay.

The forecast for this Sunday is TBD. Bring sunscreen, a hat or anything else you might want for sun protection. In the case of rain I'll post an update on my website if we cancel. Just to remind everyone, the first class is free so this class works out to essentially be free for everyone. Come check it out and see what it's about. And you are under no obligation to paint or bring any supplies the first day so feel free to just watch and ask questions!

Painting location, and possibly times, change every week. I'll update every week here, on my blog, on my Facebook page, via my class news letter and through Blue Rooster's email list.

 

Paint Club - Feb 9th

Paint Club meet up

Date - February 9th.

Time - 11am going till 4pm. Bring snacks if you want to eat!

Location - The class will be at the LA River. We're going to try the footbridge that crosses between the Tennis Lola complex and West Legion Lane. The bridge is known as the "Sunnynook Footbridge". This location gives access to several views. We can paint from the bridge or venture down into the river itself. There are no bathrooms at this location but we are a few blocks drive from the main Glendale Blvd. strip where there are several coffee shops and cafes so keep that in mind.

Parking- The best way to park is to come from the Atwater Village side and park along West Legion Lane. There is a little dirt lot on the river side of the street.

Here's the usually breakdown for the day:

11am- We start then so that I can spend some time going over the core principles that will be covered in Paint Club and everyone can choose their spot.
12ish- We'll take a break so people can take rest room breaks and eat if they brought food.
1-4pm- Painting! At this point anyone who wants to paint can or you can feel free to watch me demo some of the methods and techniques I'll using in use. We'll paint for about 3hrs and possibly longer if people want to stay.


The forecast for this Sunday is cloudy-to-sunny. Bring sunscreen, a hat or anything else you might want for sun protection. There is a chance it could rain so I'll post an update on my website if we cancel for weather. Just to remind everyone, the first class is free so this class works out to essentially be free for everyone. Come check it out and see what it's about. And you are under no obligation to paint or bring any supplies the first day so feel free to just watch and ask questions!

Painting location, and possibly times, change every week. I'll update every week here, on my blog, on my Facebook page, via my class news letter and through Blue Rooster's email list.

 

Paint Club in Full Effect

Paint Club, my landscape class in conjunction with Blue Rooster Art Supplies, is open! Holidays slowed us down but now we're cooking. The locations will be announced every week here on my blog, on my Facebook page, via my class news letter and through Blue Rooster's email list.

Date - January 26th onward.

Time - 11am going till 4pm. Bring snacks if you want to eat!

Location - We're holding this coming weekends class in the same spot in Griffith Park as our first freebie day. You can drive up as if your'e going to the Observatory. Our location is about 100yds before the parking lot on the right hand side as you drive up. Start looking to park aright after the tunnel.

 

Blue Rooster Landscape Freebie Day

For any one that will be attending the free intro day to my landscape class I'm putting on in cooperation with Blue Rooster here are a few details:

Date- This Sunday, November 17th

Meet up- 10:00am gathering at the Blue Rooster store.

Painting Location- We will move from Blue Rooster to Griffith Park. The spot is a few hundred yards before the observatory  off the main entrance road. We will be here till 3:00pm at the latest.

 

Watercolor and Drybrush

I've been having a blast this weekend experimenting with watercolor paints. I have to say I really, really, really like this medium. I've never played with watercolors before now. The closest I've gotten was doing ink washes in high school... which was a loooooong time ago. The best I can tell I'm doing a combination of straight watercolor painting with drybrush elements.

Painting in oil prepared me well for working in this medium. I was able to use the majority of my palette with a few differences. I needed to substitute some paints because of watercolors higher sensitivity to opacity and transparency. Mostly those subs were in the earth pigments which tend to be medium chroma paints. I also had to expand on my oil palette since I need a broad range of chromas in the some of the hue families. A good example is in the 10YR hue family. I went with "Indian Yellow" from M. Graham which is a straight PY110 pigment based paint for my highest chroma. For my mid-range chroma I went with a PBr24 based paint, in this case it's called "Naples Yellow" from M. Graham. This an excellent pigment for my purposes. It's lighter in value than an ocher would be while having the same chroma while also being very opaque. Those qualities I find quite nice for foliage so far. My low chroma/dark pigment is Cyprus Raw Umber Medium from Natural Pigments.

I also found I really needed to expand my dark pigment since washes make up such an important part of watercolor painting. Washes by their nature tend to bring out the maximum chroma in darker paints and I can use this quality to build low chroma tones. These paints are also how I darken all of my higher chroma higher value paints. My list goes like this:  10R - Sepia (PBr7+PBk6) from M. Graham, 5YR - Cyprus Burnt Umber from N.P., 10YR - Cyprus Raw Umber Med from N.P., 5Y - Italian Raw Umber Green from N.P., 5G - Perylene Green (PBk31) from Daniel Smith, 10B - Maya Blue (PB82) from N.P. and Bone Black from N.P. which I put in the 5RP position.

One of the interesting things I've found is I prefer to mix my low chroma greens rather than use something like a green earth or a chrome oxide green. The reason for me is that most of the greens are too high chroma general landscape work or, if the chroma and value are right, they are too transparent. Instead, I use my yellows with black or Perylene Green paint to make dark mid chroma greens. Without the possibility of neutral grays I found this to be the most efficient approach since most foliage moves from yellows in the higher values to greens in the lower values. Between Ivory Black, Perylene Green and Ultra Marine I can control the hue shift as my values darken.

When I think I've got a good handle on what paints I like to use I'll post the entire palette of paints.

Here's a little painting that I didn't get a chance to finish yet... Only got a few hours in before I needed to stop. I'll be adding some dense shadows at the base of the trees and a fence line that also runs along the base of the the trees. You can see the big foreground fence board at the bottom. Kentucky traditionally has these great black fences around their horse pastures.

The Horse Fence 1.jpg

Early stages on the new painting

This is the new painting I'm on at the moment.  I should have some real time to finish this one in the next week. The bottom is not blocked in... that will be a cityscape side lit by the setting sun. The lower half of the girl (my girlfriend) is still rough. There is almost no edge work yet and the hair on the back of her neck hasn't been worked in. Mostly the ear and neck are close. The sky is done. She will eventually be wearing a shirt with thin red straps. You can see the beginnings of a shadow on her left shoulder for a strap. Hair I save for last. You'll also notice I changed the direction of the lighting from the drawing.

First few days of work...

First few days of work...

I've got a a whole group of similar paintings in the works.  After trying a few different routes I like this direction enough to start series.

Study for a new painting

Here the drawing for a painting I'm starting. In the painting she will be keyed low so I use charcoal for the overall tone. I really like the texture that developed. I used graphite for the darkest values and light line work. I'm attempting to keep as many paintings going as I can and this is 1 of 3 I've got going.

9" x 11", Graphite and Charcoal on paper

9" x 11", Graphite and Charcoal on paper

Hybrid Munsell Palette

In the past and on occasions when I want to stay fresh I use a what I call a "Hybrid Palette" instead of a palette made up of hue value strings (aka. a "Closed Palette"). Normally I have each of the major Munsell hue families graded out in value steps 8/, 6/, 4/ and 2/. I pre-tube these and layout only what paints I need on any given day. Sometimes... I like to layout part of my palette in a more traditional way. Recently I needed to really overhaul this palette layout in preparation for a landscape painting class I'll be teaching that is based on using Munsell concepts. I revised this palette with and an eye towards being cost effective, versatile and intuitive. For the most part, paint brands don't matter except where cost is concerned. That said, since earth pigments can really vary from brand to brand, these paints are from particular companies so I don't have to adjust them to hit hue and value targets. This diagram shows how I layout the palette and the rough pre mixtures for each hue family using my newest paint list.

Mixing Chart.jpg

As you can see, unlike a purely traditional layout, I still have a neutral value string and a low chroma 5YR value string at chroma /4. This 5YR string is mixed specifically to facilitate flesh painting.  On the top row I have each of the hue families represented as well as two intermediate steps at 10R and 10YR. I also have four low chroma piles. The low chroma 10R and 10YR are based on pigments that I use to mix my 5YR string with. They are left at their full chroma to help when you want to make a small bumps in chroma but without having to deal with a powerful high chroma pigment. The 5GY and 5BG low chroma piles are there to ease foliage and atmospheric perspective mixing. The 5GY pile is mixed using Chrome Oxide Green because I've found it's opaque nature and covering power really help when painting plant life. This pile and my 5Y pile do most of the heavy lifting when painting outdoors using this set up. Another thing I included is a Burnt Umber pile specifically for darkening my 5Y hue. Darkening with anything else shifts most 5Y pigments out of their hue family. For darkening my 10R - 10YR hue piles I use my 5YR 2/4 Red Umber based pile at the bottom of my flesh string. With the pigments I've chosen each one stays in it's hue family and looses less chroma using Red Umber to darken. All the other hues from 5GY looping back around to 5R can be darkened with black. I've found that if you darken the right pigments with black your head doesn't fall off and no one dies unlike what is currently rumored to happen.

I pre-tube all but a few of these hues because it is rare for a paint to hit an exact "5" in each hue family. It only takes two evenings to tube the whole palette since you are trying only to hit the correct hues. Some are close enough to work right out of the tube if you like. Viridian for instance is close to a perfect 5BG from most brands. The slowest going is tubing the 5YR string at chroma /4. This takes longer because of the careful mixing you need to do to achieve proper hue, value and chroma together. I chose the high chroma pigments for lightfastness and mixing characteristics. There are places where another paint choice, or even more paints, could have given me higher chroma but that was not my goal. I only wanted to have access to chromas I need in the majority of real world painting scenarios. For instance 5B and 5PB are cobalt based instead of, say, phthalo blue based. I chose these two pigments for opacity and drying rate not max chroma. All my low chroma paints also have a focus on drying time since these will be used for most situations.

I want to add this note- If you like you can use a green earth based pigment for your low chroma green. Most are chroma /4 out of the tube but most also tend to be closer to 5G. Natural Pigments offers a range of green earths that sit at roughly 10GY, 5G and 5BG. Choosing to do this is more of a matter of personal taste.

Incase you were wondering why I call it a "Hybrid Palette", it's because despite the partly traditional layout at the top of the palette the pigments are mixed to match Munsell Hue families and it uses Munsell neutral value steps to control chroma instead of using complements. If you are interested in using Munsell principles this is a good gateway palette layout. You will need the "New Munsell Student Color Set, 3rd Edition" or a similar Munsell product to use as a reference for matching hues and values (especially for the 5YR chroma /4 value string). Williamsburg recently produced a new "Munsell Neutrals" set at value steps 8/, 6/, 4/ and 2/.

A landscape of time, Part 2

I had a few hours the other day to work on this piece. With the weather I had I was able to work on the bottom right panel. Specifically the foreground bush. It's not where I want it yet but the it's beginning to give the feel I want.

20" x 24"  Oil on 5 Panels

20" x 24" 

Oil on 5 Panels

A landscape of time

This painting came about because of two limitations I run into when painting landscapes. The first has to do with ease of transporting panels. I have a nice transport box from RayMar but the model I have can only carry panels up to 11" x 14". The second limitation is specific to my current shared car situation with my girlfriend. I go out painting when the car is free. This means that the car might not be available when the weather is similar to the day I started a painting. As you might have figured out I like to work on pieces from start to finish outdoors if I can. So far neither of these has been a real issue. Recently however I got the itv to work on a larger piece but still wanted to work outdoors... My solution was to break the painting up into smaller panels that I can transport separately. I treat each of these as individual paintings. The only common thread is the landscape itself. I simply take all the panels out and work on the one that best matches the weather for the day. Here is the painting so far:

20" x 24"  Oil on 5 Panels

20" x 24" 

Oil on 5 Panels

Currently only the upper left panel is finished. The upper central panel needs the mountain range very lightly scumbled in. The upper right panel need the tree completed (including matching to the bottom panel). The lower right panel needs the tree finished and the foreground bush completed. I haven't begun the lower left panel yet... So far the the panels have way more variety than I thought they would, especially in the sky. The bottom right is my master panel for measuring from. Once I had the major landmarks in I simply marked of key point on the surrounding panels. One of the rules I set for myself when working on these is that I don't compare them with each other when I'm out painting, only when I back in my studio. My thought is that if I compared them while working I might subconsciously make adjustments to bring them in line with each other. It's been pretty fun so far and I think this will become a series.

Landscape Self Portrait, Part 3

Almost done! Here's where this one stands now:

18" x 24", Oil on Panel

18" x 24", Oil on Panel

I only have the bricks that are inlaid in the sidewalk to paint in. After that I'll make some adjustments. I think the tree needs a bit of value adjustment in the upper ranges. I might add some more "distress" to the bricks on the building... We'll see. I've spent a lot of time balancing foreground and background through edges and values. Value in particular has been my focus on this painting. In particular I wanted to maintain the depth while at the same time trying to keep the feel of a bright day.

Landscape Self Portrait, Part 2

Here's an update photo of my current painting:

18" x 24", Oil on Panel

18" x 24", Oil on Panel

The tree on the left is almost in a good place. Maybe a little messing about to get all the parts to sit in the right plane. I've got a little to go on the sidewalk and parking lot below the tree. On the main building I've laid in some texture for the bricks with a palette knife. I'll come back on top of that and put in the mortar lines and start to pick out individual bricks. These brick have got me thinking a lot about Andrew Wyeth and all the great texture he could put down. Texture is one of those parts of my painting that could use some work. I find it especially hard to do in oil vs. a medium like graphite or watercolor.

Landscape Self Portrait, Part 1

Here are some images from the newest painting I'm working on. It will be a landscape / self-portrait combo for lack of a better term...

First, here's one of the drawings from the preparatory phase:

14" x 17", Graphite and Cretacolor White Chalk on Strathmore 400 Paper

14" x 17", Graphite and Cretacolor White Chalk on Strathmore 400 Paper

I ended up being pretty happy with this drawing. It took 2 mirrors. No photos. For the painting I'll be using a panel primed with Natural Pigments "Lead Oil Ground" (by far my favorite thing to prime with) then tint or mix the last coat to hit Munsell Neutral Value 7. I've made photocopies of the drawing, blowing it up to the size I want for the painting in the process. I"ll then scrub Natural Pigments "Cyprus Burnt Umber Warm" on the back side of the drawing copy. I like just using straight paint with out solvent for that. This color is a reddish version of Burnt Umber and I find it's easier to work with when you over paint it later with skin tones. I let this layer dry on the copy paper for a few hours. I then taped the drawing to the fully primed and cured panel and traced over the lines of the drawing I wanted to transfer in red pen. I picked up the red pen idea on a painter's blog somewhere but for the life of me I can't remember which one! The red helps you to see where you've traced already. From here I wash-in my base colors, thinned down slightly with Spike Oil. This is also know as an Ebauche. An Ebauche serves to establish your general color notes. On this painting in particular I won't wash in any other elements. I find I like to make this 1st pass more chromatic and lower value than life then tone it down in following layers. I tend to work on all parts at once rather than taking each area to completion. I also tend to paint pretty thin so I make multiple passes and layers.

I still do my wash-in or ebauche with bristle brushes. Mostly bristle rounds lately. Got some of Rosemary & Co.'s "domed" hog bristles on order. I really enjoy using a #2 bristle round for shadow and low value areas during full color work. Bristles help me keep my washes and shadows thin as well as not too detailed. I don't use a lot of solvent after this wash-in phase.

For the most of my lay in needs I've been using, and very happy with, Rosemary & Co.'s "Ivory" line With a light touch they make a smooth mark similar to a sable or mongoose but the spring is different. They seem to wear longer than sable but clean just as easily. These synthetics are stiffer than sable or mongoose so you have to mind your pressure more than a soft natural hair. I use her Filberts, Flats, a #0 Rigger and sometimes her Egbert shape in sizes #0 and #2. To the best of my knowledge this is the only synthetic Egbert I've come across. She now makes a Long Filbert that is a length between her normal Filbert and her Egbert shapes. I look forward to trying some of these out. Seems like a perfect length for this hair type.

All that said, nothing beats Sable for most everything else. I like sizes #0, 2, 4 and 6 rounds for most things. The only other shapes I use are a medium size filbert and a small fan. I use both of those for blending and painting soft background elements. For these brushes I been using Rosemary &Co.'s "Pure Kolinsky Sable" line.

Here is the painting as it stands now...

18" x 24", Oil on Panel

18" x 24", Oil on Panel

I painted the figure first. I'm in process now of painting the surrounding environment. About 2 days into that. The major drawback with the location I found is the sun doesn't come into position till about 1pm. I've got quite a bit of work to go before this ones done.

1st in a mini series...

Here's some in-progress images of a piece I'm working on...

Image 1

Image 2

The central landscape is a rest stop on the drive between Los Angeles and Arizona. I loved the rich soft blue of the atmosphere over the mountains contrasted with roughness of the land in the foreground. I thought a long horizontal format would really do this scene some justice. This landscape section is done.

In images you can see as I drawn in key geometric landmarks, block in , and complete elements. I like to block in slightly more chromatic than I want to end up. To do this I like to use the same value and color I will ultimately use but apply it thinly. The result is more chromatic and slightly higher in value than the final layer. As you scroll down you can see as I block in elements and then complete them.

Image 3

Image 4

Image 5

This painting is part of a series that will all have a similar concept: A central "painting" within a studio environment.  There are a lot ideas I want to explore in this series.

As I had stated in my previous post I was going to give Galkyd a try in my next painting. Well, this is the next painting and I've used it through out. It just might be my new favorite all around medium. It drys incredibly fast which allows me to over-paint and blend areas the same day very easily. It is almost identical to a balsam based medium in look and feel but drys faster. It also dries to a high gloss, which I love. I do think M. Grahams Walnut Alkyd Medium is better for very fine detail as its more liquid.