Friday, March 28, 2008

"Trees Along the River" - pre mixed palette

Here is another pre mixed palette and painting that I did this week.
I really liked the scene for its feeling of tranquility. I pushed the painting past the initial block in stage so I could layer the color a bit.
Barb Pask asked me to include a reference photo with one of these posts, so I added one at the bottom. I moved the composition around just a little.

I don't have a set number of colors that I mix up, although for the class I ask everyone to mix at least between 7 and 11 different colors. Sometimes you can get away with less. In this one I have more.
I'll often pick a color and mix it, then push part of that pile a little toward some other colors, say bluer or greener etc...but keep them in the same value. Then paint those three or four colors into the same mass to add some variety. The better you get at looking and seeing color, the better you will get at making those subtle mixes.
One of the main things that this exercise does is get you looking, seeing and learning to mix. You learn to compare colors on your palette and push them a little one way or another or dull them down a bit.

In the morning I am going out painting with a friend. I will take some palette photos and try to come back with something worth showing and talking about.




"Trees Along the River", 6" x 8" oil on linen, 2008
$500. Framed, Available at Galeria Gardner

24 comments:

Don Gray said...

Very fine.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Don! I have the same feeling about this one as you wrote about in your post today. I can't really control when they are gonna be more detailed or not.
Stuff just kid of happens, and the painting finishes itself.
Or I mess it up.

Barbara Pask said...

Thanks for including the photo this time, I just wondered how closely you painted what you're looking at. I ordered Hawthornes book last night, need all the help I can get. Thanks again. Barb

Frank Gardner said...

No problem Barb. I got pretty close this time compared to some others.
Working with photos, I will often use a couple and take bits and pieces of each. It makes it harder to just copy like that too.
I'm glad to hear that you ordered that Hawthorne book. You will get a lot out of it for years to come.
He talks about still life too.
Thanks for checking in.

Jennifer said...

Hi Frank-- These series of posts are really helpful. I'm wondering how the pre-mixing would translate in to watercolors. Any experience with that? I guess I kind of do it already, but not in so deliberate a manner. By the way, I bought Hawthorne's book a while back-- will have to move it up in my to-read pile.

mike rooney said...

thanks for sharing. i did my third or fourth premixed palette painting and i'm really diggin how you can just paint strokes and shapes without having to process things like "is this light enough, is it too saturated, blue enough"? all that jazz. now thats done independant of the mark making process. i think i love you...well thats an exaggeration but i do appreciate you alot.. LOL
keep em coming.

christine mercer-vernon said...

frank, these posts are great, your process really is remarkable and i learn a lot from them. i premix some, but not this extensive. it's fascinating to see the colors on your palette and then how they all came together on your canvas. i actually ordered a couple of books today before i read this post, hawthorne's was one of them. now i am really looking forward to it. i know how much time goes into these posts, it's really appreciated!!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Jennifer. I don't think that it would really work with watercolor. There is so much transparency involved.
I am not a watercolor painter, so.... ?
You'll love the Hawthorne book.

Frank Gardner said...

Glad that your liking this exercise Mike. I do make some alterations as I go if needed, but it sure frees up the creative side while laying the paint on.
Sorry, I'm spoken for, LOL, but we can be friends.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Christine. Ahh, another "Hawthorne on Painting" reader, great stuff there.

FCP said...

Wow, this is a really nice painting, Frank. Have you ever noticed there are many artists out there who are indeed master painters, but only a select few are capable of explaining the process? (Is that because so much of painting involves the "right brain" where words don't exist?) You, Frank, do an excellent job of articulating the process, and I appreciate the time and effort you put into sharing what you have learned.
Faye

Frank Gardner said...

I really appreciate your kind words Faye. Maybe the explaining will help make up for my shortcomings with the paint.
Thank you.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

In this case the reference photo is pretty nice, but in most cases you have to invent the color all over again because it's not there. There was a time when I couldn't tell the difference. Thank heaven someone showed me.

Ambera said...

I want to learn how to do trees like you Frank. They're beautiful and so simply done. Come up here and do a workshop, would ya??

Deborah Paris said...

Lovely painting, Frank. I premixed my palette for years and always taught that method in my workshops. Once you get people to do it (there's a lot of resistance at first) they usually love it. It separates the analytical questions- what value, what temperature, etc as compared to this or that- from the actual painting process (although of course on the spot adjustments are always necessary). The other thing it does for students is help keep color mixtures cleaner. Plus you can just look at your palette as see whether you have a pleasing color harmony!

Eric Orchard said...

Wonderful painting.
so interesting to see how you see the landscape as opposed to the camera.

Frank Gardner said...

Mary, I actually like using bad photos sometimes. That way I am not tempted to just copy everything.
Thanks for visiting.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Ambera! What a nice compliment. I'll work on that NS workshop.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Deborah. I also get some resistance to this sometimes.
I mentioned the left brain analytical thing and the right brain create mode in an earlier post. I really agree with that and it is one of the main reasons I like to work with it as an exercise. Gets all of the "worrying" out of the way first.
Keeping clean color is another great reason. This promotes palette knife mixing as opposed to brush mixing, which can give muddy color.
I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your thoughts on this. I always like to hear other artist's teaching ideas.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Eric. The camera can catch a lot of drawing issues, but I try and add to that with my feelings of the scene. I really thought this was a beautiful and peaceful spot when I took that photo, so I tried to convey that sense of peacefulness. I think these colors are calming.

Karen Cole said...

I love how you have been showing your palette, Frank. You could probably frame that as well. By the time I usually finish something, you usually can't tell where one color ends and one begins.

Just got back from a week in Mexico. Los Cabos. Not quite as artistically exciting but ...those colors....just love it!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks for the kind words Karen.
I've yet to make it over to Los Cabos. I like the idea of the desert meeting the sea. Wish I had known you were heading over there, I have some stuff in a gallery in San Jose.
Thanks for checking in on me.

Simon S. Andrews said...

that's a sweet piece, blows the photo away.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Simon.