Venetian market demo, continued

Today before I continue with my painting demo, I thought I would mention the colors I'm using on my palette. For many years I stuck with a fairly limited palette of about 5 or six colors (cad. yellow light, cadmium red, alizarin, ultramarine blue, pthalo green and white.) This was great for me as it really pushed me to learn how to mix color and not become reliant on pre-mixed colors from the tube. It also really helps lighten the load when I am packing my gear to take my studio outside and paint en plein air.

But these days in the studio, my time is more limited. I have a finite amount of hours each week to paint, blog, frame, ship, not to mention cook, eat, sleep, and care for my family. So I have allowed myself the luxury of an expanded palette to speed things along in certain areas. For instance, while I know how to mix secondary colors and some decent earth tones with a limited palette, things can move a bit faster if I have some premixed secondary colors (a.k.a. "convenience colors")  in my toolkit. So, for instance, red+yellow= orange., but cadmium orange is still a nice color to have both for it's purity and intensity and its convenience. In any case, whether I am using primaries or secondaries or pre-mixed earth colors, there is still plenty of color-mixing along the way, and  I don't ever use any color straight from the tube on my canvas.

Aside from the convenience, I am just enjoying playing with new colors. I've had less time to get out to doplein air painting, and I have missed it. So adding something new to experiment with in the studio keeps things fresh for me. On the palette I'm using right now I've introduced a few earth colors, plus some colors from Gamblin's radiant line. Aside from the colors listed with the asterisk *, I may not keep all of these colors out on my palette every time. But they have made an appearance in the studio often enough over the last few months that they are worth mentioning. All of these colors are Gamblin unless otherwise noted:

  • *Titanium white (Gamblin or Winsor Newton)
  • *Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Cadmium Yellow Deep
  • Indian Yellow (Winsor Newton)
  • *Cadmium Orange Deep
  • *Napthol Red
  • Radiant Red
  • *Quinacridone Violet
  • *Ultramarine Blue
  • Severes Blue-sometimes (Rembrandt)
  • *Radiant Turquoise
  • *Pthalo Green
  • Permanent Green Light
  • *Payne's Gray
  • *Brown Pink
  • Gold Ochre (Rembrandt)

 Now that I've gotten that bit of housekeeping out of the way, let's get back to painting! I spent my last post addressing the "shadow family" in this scene. In this picture you can see that much of the busy market scene is now at least suggested. But light is needed to delineate the forms and bring the scene alive.

venetianmarket_wip4_jenniferyoung

These images are a bit dark as I did not take the time to color correct the in-progress shots. But hopefully you can see that my approach has been to just focus on the general shapes of things without getting too bogged down in details. There are basically three large shapes of light spilling over this painting: the sky, the pavers, and the white awning, with lesser highlights on the figures.

Here is the final stage. I have kept things fairly loose because I wanted to keep the focus on the foreground figure, while still maintaining unity throughout the painting. Notice the difference in the color of the final piece below, taken under better lighting conditions to show the true nature of the colors in the painting.

 "Il Mercato Veneziano", Oil on linen, 14x11" ©Jennifer E Young

"Il Mercato Veneziano", Oil on linen, 14x11" ©Jennifer E Young

Thanks for following along on my little painting journey to Venice! This piece is heading to City Art Gallery in Greenville, NC for their 30th Anniversary Celebration September 22nd. 30 years! Wow! Come join us for the party and see this painting (and yours truly)  in person! :-) 

Venetian market painting- a progression

It's taken me a while to get to blogging about this painting because after a disastrous automatic update to Windows 10 my computer died. It has actually been grinding to a halt for a while but it finally kicked the bucket for good last week and I have spent the past however many days trying to relocate my data and reinstall my applications. I am still operating on the bare minimum but at least I can blog again! I won't go on about it but just imagine to appropriate amount of ranting and hair-pulling and insert it here. Aaany-hoo, back to art!

I thought I'd post a little step-by-step demo of this piece because I actually had the forethought to take some progressive shots along the way. This one had a lot of figures and architecture in it, both of which might seem a bit overwhelming at first. But my reference photo also had a really nice value pattern, so by focusing on that first it made my job a lot easier. Here is the composition under way, put to canvas in monochrome with a brush and Gamsol:

mercatovenezianosketch_jenniferyoung

Next, I want to think in terms of light and shadow by separating out which parts of the painting are in the light (the light family) from which parts are in shadow ( the shadow family). I will start with the shadow family first. I learned this terminology from Kevin Macpherson, one of my teachers and a phenomenal painter. Phrasing it this way helps me to organize my thoughts and approach, beyond just saying "lights and darks". It's so helpful to see it this way because in actuality some things in shadow are quite light, though they are never lighter than what's in the light family.

mercato_veneziano_wip_jenniferyoung
mercato_veneziano_wip_jenniferyoung

I spend a lot of time working in the shadow family because so much of the strength of the painting is here. Only then do I start working in the light.

More stages next time. I hope you'll tune in as I work on lighting this bad boy up!

Changing spaces (again)

I mentioned in one of my recent posts that we are in the planning stages with a builder to build a new studio at our new residence. It's coming along-- I'm excited! 😃  But given that we are just in the permit stage, I know enough about building an art studio to know that it will be a while yet before that dream becomes a reality.  Meanwhile, it will be important to save some money to help pay for the new digs. Sooo, I'm giving up my rental space and yet again, moving my studio. 

This time I will attempt to work once more in the house. I feel like we have rearranged our house so many times in the year that we have lived here, that it's comical. So what's one or two times more, in the scheme of things? The room I've cleared out for my little temporary studio has been a catch-all room; a mud room, a temporary guest bedroom, and eventually it will be my office.  It has a door that leads to the back screened porch and faces the site of the future studio. It sits a bit away from the rest of the house, and is just down the hallway from the garage. So in some ways,  the location is ideal for a little painting space.  

What's not ideal though, at ALL, is the lighting. This room is very, very dark, which is why I never thought to use it previously for a home studio. What's changed since we moved to Ashland though,  is the easel light, shown below (installed on my Sorg easel, with an unfinished painting.) 

image.jpg

The light is one by Revelite, which I learned of from seeing postings raving about it in several of my friends' Facebook feeds. Revelite makes traditional picture lights for lighting artwork, but also these work lights designed to work with artist's easels. They are slim profile, adjustable LED bulbs, with a high color rendering (CRI), purportedly, of over 90. 

I purchased the 36" light. I will admit I was sweating bullets when I ordered this thing because while I was "pretty sure" this light would work with my easel, I still harassed Revelite's customer service for a few weeks with a barrage of inquisitive emails.  It was, after all, a very expensive light. And it carried a hefty restocking fee in the event it needed to be returned.  Luckily, though, the light mounted to my easel without an issue, and I am really pleased with the quality of the light it provides to my painting surface. 

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Above is my new home-based  temporary studio! Although I still think I need more light for the room, at least I have lit the most important parts of my workspace in order to get the job done.  I've lit the palette area with a standing Ott-lite for now, but as you can see this is a very cold, bluish light compared to the warmer but still very clean easel light (which I prefer.) I am still working on a better solution to this problem, because putting different lighting on my painting and palette will likely be problematic. 

If this little space is looking quite neat, it's because the rest of my supplies (frames, equipment, paintings, etc) are stashed in a million different places throughout my house,  with even more still at the rental space. All of that stuff will need to be moved out and consolidated and organized by the end of August, so aside from painting and splashing in the water with the kiddo, you can guess how I will be spending a good part of the rest of my summer! 

A Venetian Companion

This week I am working out a companion piece to the little Venetian painting I posted the week prior. I often find that small paintings do well in pairs. Certainly a small piece can stand on its own, but it is often nice for the little guy to have someone to talk to. A pair can flank either side of a large mirror or mantle, or stack together on a tall narrow wall:

outerbankspaintings_jenniferyoung

I love grouping paintings, and while it doesn't work for every piece, I have started to try and think in terms of finding a  buddy for my little friends when it's possible. This is the start for our little Venetian companion:

venetiansepiasketch_jenniferyoung

A rough lay-in in burnt sienna gives a first pass at my light and shadow family. When I start to add color, I will keep those two families in mind. First up is the shadow family:

venicepainting_wip_jenniferyoung

You can see that even some of the "white" colors (around the door frames, etc, are still in shadow and will therefore generally be a darker value than anything in the light family. The eye can really trick you once you bring color into the picture, so it is something to be aware of at all times! More to come! Stay tuned.... 

La Barchetta Rossa

I had such fun with this little painting that I am thinking of doing it again as a larger piece. My goal in the execution was to keep it loose and not get bogged down in too many details that can happen so often when approaching architectural scenes; especially when working from photo references. 

 "La Barchetta Rossa", Oil on linen, 12x9", ©Jennifer Young

"La Barchetta Rossa", Oil on linen, 12x9", ©Jennifer Young

As with plein air painting, sometimes giving yourself a handicap can be very helpful. Squinting, for instance, allows one to reduce visual information down to shapes, patterns, and values. These days taking off my glasses serves a similar purpose (*SIGH*). Another method that I experimented  with here was to "blur it up"  using one of the artistic filters in Photoshop. This has the effect of removing the detail while still providing the shapes and values. I used my blurry image for most of the painting, and then referenced the detailed photo at the end to see what I may have missed and add the finishing touches. What was interesting is that I liked the freshness of my initial round so much that I found very little I wanted to add or adjust once I referenced the detailed photo. I have often used Photoshop to adjust shadows and highlights in my photo references, or to crop for ideas on composition, but this was the first time I have used it to remove detail. I really liked this method and will likely do it again, especially for complicated scenes like architecture where it can really be helpful to turn down the visual "noise".