After what I definitely consider to be a run of a good few weeks at the easel, I suppose an ‘off’ week was only ever a matter of time away! The past week has been one of those weeks when I struggled with both subject matter and with execution!
I had something quite different in mind with this subject matter, but this is how it turned out:
It’s not be any means a total disaster – and there are a couple areas that I’m quite happy with: some aspects of the chandelier light, the general tone and texture of the walls and the sense of light flooding into the room from outside… but the foreground…
I started off with a really dense dark foreground, painted with really heavy mix of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. I took this way too far though. As well as losing any sense of the light, I also lost any suggestion of the shapes of chairs or tables, or of light catching the edges and surfaces of the furniture in the foreground.
I decided to flood the entire foreground area with lots of water and to let the paint ‘drain’ off the paper. This went a little way to improving it, but by this stage I’d started to lose my enthusiasm for this painting!
Instead of working with it further, I had a play around with a few different crops of the image:
I quite liked some of these and they helped me to focus a little more on some of the positives in my efforts rather than just on the elements that were frustrating me.
Still, in a fit of pique, I decided that there was nothing good going to come of pursuing this any further and that it was high time I sorted out my paints instead.
Can you ever have too many paints?
For someone that only tends to paint with a relatively limited palette, I seem to have accumulated a substantial quantity of paints. This is mainly because I often buy paints on ebay and quite often people will be selling off five or six tubes of paint, of which I’m only really interested in two or three of them. When the price is right, I’ve been able to pick up quite a lot of bargains. The downside is that I’ve also accumulated quite a few paints that I’m not entirely sure what to do with!
When I sorted out and grouped all the paints together, it’s quite telling. The main thing it’s telling me is that I need to STOP BUYING PAINT!
At the top of the image are my blues: cerrulean, cobalt and french ultramarine. Top right I have some yellow ochre (I favour raw sienna over yellow ochre) and three tubes of quinacridine gold that I’m not at all sure what to do with!
In the middle is a tremendous amount of cadmium yellow that I seem to be stockpiling for some bizarre reason. I also have reserves of burnt sienna and burnt umber on the left. On the far the right, I have far more chinese white and titanium white than I’m ever likely to use. I also have tubes of sap green and alazirin crimson – neither of which feature in my regular palette.
At the very bottom are some new 37ml tubes of some of my staples that I only bought recently. All in all, plenty of paints to keep me going for quite a while and it’s also been valuable to see where I have the odd gap. I am for instance going to allow myself to buy a new tube of light red!
A happy coincidence
As I was compiling this post, I received my regular email from Jackson’s Art Supplies which really grabbed my attention as it seemed so timely as to almost be suspicious! The article details the preferred choice of colours from five leading landscape artists. You can see the full article by clicking on the image below:
Aside from being a great article, what was particularly interesting to me was how much food for thought it provided for some experiments with colours such as indigo and quinacridine gold!
Who knows, maybe my profligate purchasing of paints will provide some interesting dividends after all!