Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I need your input and opinions!

12x12 acrylic on stretched canvas
I have been doing some experimenting with color, using limited palettes. I want to find a color scheme that works best  for the urban images I like to paint. I tried the Zorn palette with a sunny city scene, and found it very limiting. So then I thought I would do the opposite, and try a picture in acrylics, using several different colors. I like to use acrylics from time to time...I like the fast drying time, the glazing one can do almost immediately, and the quick changes that can be made.
I would love to hear your opinion about your choice of color. Do you always use the same colors? Do you change for different types of images? Do you like a limited palette or a wide variety of colors? Your information will help me in my quest to find out how different color palettes influence the look of a painting. Thanks!

Oil Sketch of Queen Street in Toronto using the Zorn Palette

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Taxis at the Go Station, Toronto

12x12 oil on canvas
In the previous posting, using the limted palette, I was able to convey a gray misty feeling. The challenge with this picture was to convey the same feeling even though I was adding more colors. I knew it would be difficult to maintain "color harmony" with the variety of colors in my photo reference and I didn't want to change the taxi color as it is typical Toronto colors. I did tone down the colors of the taxi in the foreground, and kept the greens of the trees muted. I'm still wondering if it looks too bright for a rainy complicated!
Taxis wait at Union Station in Toronto for pedestrians escaping from the rain, while others head down the stairs to catch the Go Train.

Monday, April 18, 2011

"Zorn Palette" Landscape

8x10 oil on canvas
I used the "Zorn Palette" to do this cityscape. I think this palette will work well for rainy misty scenes. I like the look it created, but I found myself reaching for the blue, which wasn't there. I was surprised that I could mix a sort of green color using ivory black and yellow ochre.
This scene is from James Street North in Hamilton. Cars head down hill, under the TH&B railway bridge, going north towards the bay. I may try a larger painting using this palette.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The "Zorn Palette"

8x10 oil on canvas
While reading blogs and other internet info, I often come across what is called the "Zorn Palette". It consists of Ivory Black, Virmillion (or cad red or cad red lt), yellow ochre, and white. The artist Anders Zorn apparently used this palette. Differing opinions suggest he used this palette for landscape, others say he used it for figures. There is also the opinion out there that he rarely used this palette, and had several colors in his studio. Regardless, I want to try a few paintings using the palette he is known for.
I spent a lot of time learning and discovering values, and now I am delving into color. I want to find out how different palettes affect the look of our work.
I used a photo on my monitor as a reference to do a painting of my daughter. I used ivory black, titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium red light. It was difficult not being able to paint her turquiose blue eyes and the matching blue shirt, but thats the beauty of this palette. Not overdoing the details or color.
It has been a very long time since I have done a portrait, but thought it was time.
I'm off to try a landscape using this palette. Give it a try!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

James Street Showers, Hamilton Ontario

12x12 oil on canvas
The colorful buildings in the background on this section of James Street added some interesting colors on this rainy day. The cyclist, on his commute home, also added a nice focal point. We don't have this much greenery yet, but a couple of weeks should see the soft green buds on the trees. I think this will be one that I want to try on a larger scale.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Plein Air, Dejardin Canal, Dundas

8x10 oil on canvas panel
With renovating and spending time with my mother, my studio time has suffered lately. So I'm taking the opportunity to use the small blocks of time to do some more plein air work. I think that working plein air helps our observation skills and teaches (forces?) us to say what we want to say in a faster more spontaneous fashion. I did this picture a couple of days ago on a breezy rainy day. I couldn't figure out why the paint wouldn't go on, and then realized the canvas was covered in a layer of water. Still struggling!
This is a piece of the Dejardin Canal that once connected Dundas to Lake Ontario. The canal was a great plan, and supposed to make Dundas the manufacturing centre in 1850, but then the railway came, and Hamilton took over the limelight.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

April Showers, Yonge Street, Toronto

12x12 oil on canvas
Spring is finally making an appearance here in southern ontario. Almost time to put the snow shovels away, although snow in April isn't unheard of. I was anxious to get back to some rainy scenes. I want to do some larger pieces so will be doing some 12x12 to decide which ones will translate well into some larger canvases.
I love this corner of Yonge Street. It is so busy, lots of different signage, and nice blue buildings in the background.
(I was unhappy with the photo I took of this picture. It came out looking very orange. I changed the white balance setting and it worked out much better. I have been using the "shade" setting rather than the Auto and it has been working well, but with this one, change was required. I don't know a lot about photography, but the white balance setting makes an important difference in getting colors correct.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Plein air paintings, Dundas

March 26 Waterfall behind the quarry houses
Mar 18 Birches and Path on the sandhill
Mar 24 Looking toward Hamilton from the sand hill
March 18 Looking towards the golf course from the sandhill
3x5 water color and gouache on watercolor paper
I am primarily a studio painter, but I want to incorporate some plein air painting into the mix. I would like to have a small kit to take along if I am away from the studio and want to do some quick studies. I was really impressed with Nathan Fowkes and the method he uses. He is truly a master at creating light and drama with simple shapes and quick studies. He uses water color and designers gouache, a little easier than everything needed for oil painting. His painting kit is described HERE He shows demos on his blog, and if you follow along and do one, you get the idea of how he is using the paint in almost an oil painting method. 
 Most of these scenes are within 15 minutes walking distance from my house. I want to do some urban scenes, but I am still too shy to get out in the streets..I need a little practice in more secluded locations before I am brave enough to tackle some urban scenes. Is there a way to overcome this shyness?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Plein Air Painting-Stone House in Greensville

8x10 oil on canvas panel
I wasn't sure if I should post this picture. I struggled with the color palette I chose, it started to pour rain, and the whole experience was quite difficult. I have been wanting to do some plein air work, especially on the days when I don't have a large block of time for studio painting and today I felt like getting outside.
I used Kevin Macpherson's palette when doing this picture. He uses a limited palette of cadmium yellow pale, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, and titanium white. I read about this palette while looking at Rene Pleinair's blog. Rene recently joined our group "daily painter originals". I have often enjoyed looking at Renee's work and noticed that the landscape of the Netherlands looks a lot like the area where I live. I decided to try the palette he uses, based on Kevin Macpherson. People say using a limited palette is easy. I found it very difficult mixing all those grays from so few colors!.
This old stone house is in Greensville, a small town next to mine. This house has sat in a state of desrepair for several years, but someone seems to be living there still.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Umbrellas on Yonge Street

8x8 oil on stretched canvas
I got a little impatient and decided it was time to do a rainy scene. It actually felt like spring today! Canadians are a versatile bunch. One day of warm weather, and all of a sudden  bicycles, motorcycles, and warm weather gear are seen everywhere.
These young ladies and their jumble of umbrellas head down Yonge Street in Toronto on a rainy day. Shopping must go on, whatever the weather.
$125.00 plus $10.00 shipping
If you would like to bid on this painting you can go to the ebay auction page HERE
Thanks for looking