Sunday, August 29, 2010

Two color layin

Here are two colors, I wonder if they look OK on your monitor? They are viridian and iron oxide red. I am starting a seascape and am using one of my strategies for getting a painting on the canvas. If I mix the two together they make a gray. I add the red to the viridian to darken it and that heats my shadows. I am using viridian because the water will have a lot of that color in it, but I often use burnt sienna and ultramarine.

Using warm and a cool complementary colors allows me to control my color temperature and reducing the game to two colors makes it almost like drawing in charcoal. I can concentrate on the drawing. Later on I can insert more colors, when I have the whole thing drawn out.

Please don't try to adjust your set, this one is blurry. Notice the blob on the upper left, it has mixtures that are warm and cool. If I add white to that I get a nice gray. I toned the canvas with the red oxide and Liquin. I let that dry over night. This is a studio painting. In the morning it was dry and I put a thin coat of liquin over that to "lock it down". I then drew the outlines of my subject with a rigger and the viridian and red mix.

Then I began working out the water and sky. They are both done with the two colors, except I insinuated a little bit of cadmium yellow into my most sunlit passages. Even the blue of the sky is viridian with a little red in it to gray it.

Here is a close up of the center wave very early in the process. If I use a lot of red into the shadows they get nice and warm and contrast with the cool lights form from the viridain alone. This was all painted with a #23 bristle about an inch and a half wide. Using the two color palette and the big brush, things can happen real fast. This is one days work. However if I run into problems I could get hung up and take forever to get it out the door.

A two color layin can be done with any two colors , complements work nicely, even yellow and violet. But the colors don't have to be compliments either. Using colors makes a much livelier layin and in this case a more finished one than just a single color like umber or black and white.

I will be holding a three day workshop at the Bass Harbor Campground in Bass Harbor, Maine. the 25-26-27th of September. That's Saturday-Monday. We will paint outside and I will teach beginners to experts the art of outdoor landscape painting.
Here is a link to where you can sign up
Reservations at the Bass Harbor campground can be made here.


Ocean Quigley said...

That's a great idea! I'm going to give it a shot in my next painting.


Sidharth Chaturvedi said...

That looks great so far, do post a picture when it's done! I never thought of using that particular combination for an underpainting, I'll need to give it a try.

One thing I've been meaning to ask you, kind of unrelated to this- a lot of painters talk about keeping the shadows transparent, some with strictly transparent paint, but most just saying to go for the effect of it. I especially hear a lot of classical method people insist on keeping white out of the shadows entirely. Do you have any advice about handling this for landscapes? My landscape teacher from a few months back (Dean Larson) would have us go for the transparent "look" by avoiding solidly colored shadows, but beyond that I still don't really have a grasp of the idea, aside from not putting in a lot of detail.

Gregory Becker said...

That painting is beautiful and almost finished. Be sure to show us the before and after together.

Philip Koch said...

The in progress seascape does look good.

I liked Stape's idea that laying in initially with just two colors is almost like drawing in charcoal- that it helps him concentrate on getting the drawing of his shapes just right.

I love playing around with color, but at the end of the day I feel it's the character of how one draws one's shapes that matters most of all. This two color lay in idea is a good way to introduce color early in the making of the painting without letting things get too complicated. An excellent post.

Unknown said...

Great post Stape ... I'm gonna try that combo and the painting has a lot of force!


R Yvonne Colclasure said...

I am a visual learner, and this really helps. Can hardly wait for the next one.

billspaintingmn said...

This is cookin' Stape! I want to try this at home!

Lucy said...

Is that a transparent red oxide?

willek said...

Same here.. Can't wait to try this out.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Hope that is useful.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I do both, I will write as post on that sometime soon. I tend to work opaquely outdoors, like most impressionists.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks, will do.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Ain't charcoal great, I can do more accurate work and push it around more ea silt in charcoal than any other way.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks. Nice portrait on your blog by the way.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks. The next one is up for you to see.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Try it.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Yes it is but it is not the Rembrandt that is so popular today, it is RGH. It is slightly less transparent, a very different pigment really.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Don't screw it up, I am coming to check it out. Soon.