Friday, May 28, 2010

MJ & Grace - Steps 3 & 4

At this point it was necessary to put some additional color over the raw sienna. While I typically paint the background layers first, I needed to paint the green grasses in the foreground in order to accurately judge the colors of the girls' dresses. Perceived colors are greatly affected by proximate colors (click here).

Then it was the background's turn, since it contained the darkest values and since I also wanted to paint the middle ground on top of the background. The background was unified with a semi-transparent dark green color. Highlights were added, while most of the middle tones were left uncovered from Steps 1 and 2.
STEP 3 - Foreground color and background resolution

Then I began to paint some of the dark and light tones in the "white" dresses.

STEP 4 - Dark and light dress tones

Next. . . Faces, Hair and Dresses.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

MJ & Grace - Steps 1 & 2

After 1) having several photo shoots (I'll do a post on this later), I 2) sifted through the hundreds of photos and compiled my favorites to compose this scene (I believe the final composite is made up of about 20 different photographs).  Then I 3) stretched a canvas (I used Artfix's Belgian Linen Canvas L43U) and 4) toned it with Raw Sienna. While it dried, I 5) drew a drawing to scale and then transferred it to the dry canvas.  Then it was time to 6) print the Photoshop image full-size, going through several iterations to get the right colors, and finally 7) the actual painting began. . . and to exuberantly prove the point, I took a photo!

STEP 1 - Initial Colors

About only a few hours I had covered much of the canvas - (I always feel so productive at the beginning of a painting!)

STEP 2 - More Color, Soft Edges

The paint was kept quite thin, because I wanted the initial golden tone to poke through the layers and provide a unifying overall warmth to the painting.  The other thing to be aware of is that I kept a soft edge around the subjects, so that it would be easier to blend them into the background.  It's a lot easier to make a hard edge out of a soft one than to go the other way around.

Next Up. . . Step 3 - More Color, Resolve Background

Monday, May 24, 2010

A New Painting: MJ & Grace

Whew, I just finished my 'Painting A Day'. . .

MJ & Grace • 37" x 44" • Oil on Linen

. . . just kidding . . . I've been working on it for several months.

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to post several progress photos illustrating the process used to create this painting.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The White Test. . . 5 Years in the Making

I've been preparing this blog entry for about 5 years.

In the aforementioned year of yore, I performed a thoroughly unscientific White Test wherein different brands of oil paint were applied to a little panel and allowed to cure so as to observe their aged properties.  I was focusing primarily on how much they yellowed.  The results led to some concern so I broadened the test to include more brands/kinds of oil paint, and now . . . after two years of drying. . . I give you the results of this expanded White Test (or Off-White Test, as it is known in-house.)

Winsor & Newton (Artist Oil Colors)
    Titanium White  37 ml
     Zinc White  37ml
     Flake White #1  37 ml
     Foundation White  37 ml
     Cremnitz White  37 ml
     Transparent White  120 ml
Winsor & Newton (Griffin Alkyd)
    Titanium White  37 ml
     Mixed White  37 ml
Gamblin (Artist Oil Colors)
    Titanium White  37 ml
     Radiant White  37 ml
     Titanium Zinc White  37 ml
     Zinc White  37 ml
     Quick Dry White  37 ml
     Flake White Replacement  37 ml
     Flake White  37 ml
Grumbacher (Artist Oil Colors Pretested)
    Titanium White (soft form)  1.25 fl. oz.
     Titanium White (original form)  1.25 fl. oz.
     Zinc White  37 ml
     Flake White  37 ml
Holbein (Extra Fine Artist Oil Colors)
     Ceramic White  50 ml
     Zinc White  50 ml
Lukas 1862 (Finest Artist Oil Colors)
     Opaque White  37 ml
     Zinc White  37 ml
     Titanium White  37 ml
Old Holland (Classic Oil Colors)
     Mixed White #2 (zinc & titanium)  40 ml
     Titanium White  40 ml
     Cremnitz White  40 ml
     Flake White #1 Cremnitz & Zinc  40 ml
Vasari  (Classic Artist Oil Color)
     Titanium Zinc White  40 ml
     Zinc White  40 ml
     Titanium White  40 ml
Permalba (Artist Oil Color)
     Original White  150 ml
     Zinc White  37 ml
     Titanium White  37 ml
     Iridescent White  37 ml
Chroma (Archival Permanently Flexible Artists Oils)
     Titanium White  40 ml
Chroma (Professional Artists Oils)
     Tinting White (Pearl/Titanium)  40 ml
C.A.S. Alkyd Pro
     White Luster  70 ml
     Titanium White  70 ml
Rembrandt (Extra Fine Oil Colors)
     Transparent White  40 ml
The Entire Chart

Flake Whites

Quick Dry Whites

Supposedly White Whites

Titanium Whites 1

Titanium Whites 2

Titanium Zinc Whites

Zinc Whites

Transparent Whites

Specialty "Whites"

THE WINNERS (Still White):
 • Permalba (Artist Oil Color) - Original White
 • Lukas 1862 (Finest Artist Oil Colors) - Titanium White
 • Grumbacher (Artist Oil Colors Pretested) - Titanium White (soft form)

 • Gamblin (Artist Oil Colors) - Radiant White
 • Grumbacher (Artist Oil Colors Pretested) - Flake White
 • Permalba (Artist Oil Color) - Zinc White
 • Permalba (Artist Oil Color) - Titanium White

 • Winsor & Newton (Artist Oil Colors) - Cremnitz White
 • Winsor & Newton (Artist Oil Colors) - Transparent White
 • Rembrandt (Extra Fine Oil Colors) - Transparent White

The culprit seems to be the vehicle (or binder) used.  Since safflower oil yellows less than linseed oil, I'm sticking with whites made with safflower oil.

(All of these paints are applied to the same gessoed linen panel, so there should be no inconsistency in the ground.  We were also careful to wear gloves when touching the surface, so that there would be no inadvertent addition of oil from fingers to confuse the results.  No animals were harmed through the testing of these paints - including rabbits.  Obviously overly optimistic, I left plenty of space for additional paints to be added eventually - feel free to submit any requests.)