"It is beautifully simple, painting - all we have to do is get the color notes in their proper relation." Charles Hawthorne
I am working on several posts based on the idea of pre mixing color on the palette before painting. There is so much to talk about here that I feel the best way to go about it is to do several posts. I don't want everyone to get bored, and I don't want to overload a blog post with too many ideas.
I'll try and not repeat myself too much. If you have not read my previous post on pre mixing color, it is here.
On this one I worked from a photo, mixing colors for about twenty minutes. I started by mixing my lightest shadow color, which is the woman's sweater in shadow. I compared the values of all of the other colors to that.
Then I blocked in the main masses of the painting for about thirty minutes without mixing any new colors.
After that, I began breaking those main masses up into smaller shapes for another ten or fifteen minutes. Mostly in the background trees. I realized that I was going beyond the purpose of this post so I stopped.
Photos below - (1) palette, (2) after 30 min., (3) after 10-15 min. more.
"The Sower", 10" x 8" oil on linen, 2008
I find that key issues that many students in my classes face are seeing color and value, mixing accurate color, working too slowly to catch the rapidly changing light, and painting the details before the main masses are blocked in accurately. I wanted to find a way to focus on these issues.
It is all about getting the right color, making it the right shape, and putting it in the right spot.
I would like to add a few quotes from "Hawthorne on Painting". If you don't have this book, get it. It is only like six bucks. I have read it at least twenty times. Each time I pick up on something new, something that helps me with where I am at the moment.
"The mechanics of putting one spot of color next to another - the fundamental thing."
"Remember, no amount of good drawing will pull you out if your colors are not true, get them true and you will be surprised how little else you will need."
"Do studies, not pictures. Know when you are licked - start another. Be alive, stop when your interest is lost....... It is so hard and long before a student comes to the realization that these few large simple spots in right relations are the most important things in the study of painting. They are the fundamentals of all painting."
"A mass either stays within the lights or it falls into the range of the darks, and by half squinting the eyes you can tell to which it belongs. Remember, the eye takes in all your big lights against all your big darks."
I'll stop there for now.