Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Mother Hen" and my palette

It has been a very rainy week here. I am working on several paintings in the studio. Here is one of them.
I was challenged by the subject being all in shadow. There was not a strong pattern of light and shadow to work with.

"Mother Hen", 11" x 14" oil on board, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

I enjoy seeing other artists palettes and the way they set them up.
I have shown my Open Box M setup on this blog before, but I dont think that I have shown this larger palette. The mixing surface is about 15" x 15". I use it on a table top in my studio or I can sit it on the drawer of my french easel.

Below is a photo of one of my home made palettes and how I have my paint arranged. I like to line up the colors along the left hand side. Since I am right handed, it is the easiest layout for me to grab paint with my palette knife. I always line my colors up from darkest to lightest. My little pile of phthalo blue is off to the upper right, out of the way, so it does not contaminate any of my other colors. There was not any on my palette when I shot this photo, but you can see the stain where it goes.
When I use liquin, I make a little pile of it at the bottom right.

The two sides are hinged and fold in to cover my extra paint for transport, and to keep it from drying out as fast. I keep my brushes on the tray on the right hand side and paint rags on the left hand side.

I sealed the whole thing with a few coats of tung oil to protect it, and it has a nice patina of oil paint building up on it. It is nice to have all the wood well sealed incase I get caught out in the rain.


Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I think the color is great in this painting and I see the warm light in the foreground. Good job.
I'm going to pass my Art y Pico award on to you with a link to your blog from my post. I know that posting all the 'rules' and stuff that go along with these blog awards isn't your bag, but I dutifully complied and you can just copy and paste from mine.
Anyway, your blog is great and I'm going to say so on mine ;)

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Yes... lovely colors in this painting. And thank you for sharing your palette... looks very handy and easy to pack along if need be. It's nice to see how others make things work.

Dean H. said...

Hi, Frank. The lighting presented an interesting challenge. You came up with a fine painting from it.
Great to see how you arrange your palette. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

way cool! - the palette you made, and everything about it!
And, the painting lives! I can hear the clucks and peeps all the way in Miami! I'll let all the painters oh and ah about your brush strokes and intimate atmosphere you evoke with the light/shade and colors within it. I do like the "attitude" of the mother hen - the title wasn't necessary to see that she's those little chicks' mother!
: )

Anonymous said...

The palette visual was oh so helpful and without the pthalo, I counted only 6 well chosen colors.
It's the educated and judicious use of color that makes this and all of your work so stunning.
I hear those baby peep peep peeps and feel momma scratching in the dirt.

Chickens are a favorite backyard animal here- they love to eat centipedes!

To me, colors are the equivalent of letters of the alphabet or numbers.
Endless possibilities and those that choose the best of them are great writers, mathematicians or, highly skilled painters.

I love seeing these clusters of momma hens ( they're a familiar sight here and often enough, reason for cars to stop on a road...).We always hope, however, the roosters are far far away, as an early riser, 6 is fine for me but that 4 AM rooster announcement is miserable.

A question for you- how do you feel after you sell a favorite painting?

Jennifer McChristian said...

I love this painting! So lively and whimsical :)
Using such an array of exquisite and lush complementary colors with such a limited palette is masterful.

Barbara Pask said...

Frank, I always enjoy taking a close up look at your paintings. Wonderful colors and I think everyone loves chickens. Your palette is a great idea, I may have to put my husband to work on one for me. I have a large plastic one with a lid but no handle.

Theresa Rankin said...

Fantastic, rich color and a lively painting even with the subject in shadow...I love the shapes in the rocks...well I love the whole thing. My palette is the same...but not being as clever as you...I bought mine. LOL! I am seriously enjoying your work!

Paula Villanova said...

Thanks for showing your palette; it's always fascinating to see how each person manages their "tools of the trade." This painting is a lovely scene, beautifully rendered. I enjoy visiting your blog!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Mary.
I appreciate you giving me the Art y Pico. It's not that they are "not my bag", it's just that it is so hard to chose other blogs to pass it on to.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Diana, thanks. This type of palette is pretty handy.

Frank Gardner said...

Your comments are appreciated Dean. I know how you like animal paintings.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Solveg.
Still in MIami? Hope you get to see the sun a bit while you are down there.
Thanks for checking in.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Bonnie, I'll often just use the three or four colors plus white.
How do I feel when I sell a favorite painting? Better than when I don't. LOL
Actually , I don't mind selling my paintings at all. I usually don't get too attached to them. We have a few favorites around the house though.
I feel honored when someone loves them enough to want to purchase them.

PS I love that recent shot of your island, looking toward the storm. Very inviting.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Jennifer! I am so glad you check in on me.

Your paintings are always so fresh and to the point.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Barb.
I used a scrap of very thin plywood and mahogany for the trim. It is best to use a hardwood where the hinges are. Just keep smearing the mixing surface with all your extra paint and maybe scrape it smooth with a scraper- razor blade and let it dry to build up a nice surface to mix on.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Theresa, thanks! I tried finding one to buy but could not track one down just how I wanted it, so I made a couple.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Paula, thanks for visiting again.

Susan Carlin said...

I like your painting so much, Frank. Great color choices, too, with the log, and I really like that transitional edge of yellow at the beginning of the sunlit ground. And thanks for showing your palette- Have you talked about your choices of colors? Point me to the post, if you already have, but I'll be the nosy one to ask about your palette of colors !

Ambera said...

I would love to have one of these boxes...hmm, how much? :)
I love your painting, the chicks are adorable.

Billy Guffey said...

Hi Frank. I really like this one. The looseness of your brushstrokes always make for a beautiful painting.

I liked seeing your palette. I think working with a limited palette brings an overall harmony to the piece (any piece), and I find it challenging to make sure I get a different look with each new one, and not the same old thing.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Susan, thanks! I appreciate your eye in picking up those details that you mention. I think I talked about the colors that I use before, but I can't remember where, so here they are:
French Ultramarine Blue
Alizarin Crimson
Cadmium Red
Cadmium Yellow Light
Cadmium Yellow or Lemon Yellow
Titanium White and Phthalo Blue

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Ambera.
They are pretty easy to make. If I remember correctly, you have some woodworking skills.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Bill. Yes, I have found that since I started using a limited palette, almost ten years ago, that my paintings have a better overall harmony. It is a lot easier to make a color choice, fewer tubes of paint to buy and it takes up less precious space on my palette.

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Hi Frank,
I've been reading your blog for a couple of months and I heard about you from my friend Faye. I love your work and the way you educate by explaining how you make your decisions--very helpful. I've been using a limited palatte for a couple of years--most of the time--and really like it.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Rhonda. Thanks for commenting. That's the only way I ever know who is reading along. Maybe I need a site meter or something.
I'm glad that you have been enjoying my blog.
I just visited your blog and will mark it so I can return when I have a little more time.

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

hi frank, i really like how you handled your values here...the chickens are great, but wow, love that log, you can really sense the direction the bark grew. very nice. really like that palette too, maybe you should sell could be your part time job, something you do in your 'free time'... LOL i'll have to have chad look at it and see if he can figure out how to make me one...

Anonymous said...

I'm partial to chicken paintings and this piece is exemplary.

I'm tempted to go buy some chickens.

Anonymous said...

Frank, masterful use of subtle color. What a beauty!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Christine, I struggled harder on the log than the hen.
It would cost as much to ship one of those palettes as it would cost to purchase it. :oD
I'm sure your husband could figure it out and if had any questions I would surely help out.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi... Bill?
Thanks! I have another that I will post soon. I may stick one of the others that I have first though.

If your looking to buy some chickens, this one is still available. heh heh.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Silvina, I'm glad you like it. The painting is actually a little more subtle and closer together in value. Something happened along the way in photographing it and getting it on line, but that was the closet I could get to the real thing and not get totally frustrated about it.

Anonymous said...

Your palette setup is so spare! Austere, even. And yet you get such a large gamut of color from it. Amazing.

OT- noticed a small flurry of "here's my setup" posts this week...
and you!

... makes me wonder if it would be possible to organize a "virtual open studio" event with fellow artists. Have you ever done one?

hj said...

Nice painting, cute one!
And I like your palette!
Precedent post: great dragon raft, my children would love it!

Anonymous said...

I like this painting very much!


Anonymous said...

i like the realism a lot , great piece

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

what kind of wood did you use?

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Edgar. Thanks for stopping by again.
I posted this shot of my palette after commenting on Diane Mize's post on her palette last week.

I have also seen a few times when artists get together and post shots of their studios. I never join in on that one because my studio is a mess :o(

Frank Gardner said...

Thank you Helene.
I'm sure your kids would love that raft. I think it is 6 meters long and fits two adults easily.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Paz!!!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Simon! Good to hear from you.

Frank Gardner said...

I used some scraps that I had saved Christine. Something that I picked up from my Dad, never throw anything out that you might be able to use. My studio is full of stuff that "I might be able to use". LOL

It is 1/8" mahogany plywood, but any 1/8" ply would do. And the edges are Mahogany too. About 3/4" high by 1/2" wide. Any hardwood is o.k. , You just want to keep the screws from pulling out. There is some weight on the side flaps sometimes, so you want to keep it strong.
Let me know if you have another question on that.

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

thanks for sharing frank! i'll save this project for the winter when chad is driving me crazy because it's snowing and 'he's bored'!!

Susan Carlin said...

Thanks for sharing your colors, Frank. Makes me feel a bit gluttonous for having so many additional dabs of paint on my palette! I'm humbled and awed.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Susan. I'm always glad to share.
I have nothing against lots of colors. Karin Jurick is one that comes to mind. She has like a million colors, and seems to get them to work.
For painting on location, with a small palette, fewer are better as far as I'm concerned. So working with the same colors in the studio really gets me used to mixing what I need with just these. It is just a matter of personal preference. Be a glutton if you want. : )

Unknown said...

Those brush strokes in the background are intoxicating! You don't sit on your laurels, your stuff just keeps improving.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Eric!