Wishing you a fun and festive weekend!
After finishing the third session on this copy, I went home and thought a lot about this painting and how I wanted to proceed for the next session. Between the painting sessions, I spent time thinking about how I would begin my next session and also trying to figure out how to accomplish the soft and layered quality of the sky. When it was time to came back to the gallery, I arrived with an action plan.
With the beginning of the fourth painting session, I pulled out my oil cup and poured out the first medium I planned on using for this layer of the painting.
My goal was to get through the first “refining” pass through of the sky.
I wanted to begin to introduce the more soft and subtle effects of the sky and clouds. I also needed to shift the colors some and lighten the values also, so while I was working on the clouds I was also laying in a new sky color, so the entire area of the sky got a new coat of paint.
Occasionally I will lay in a big splat of paint in a location to help me key my values correctly. This is what the large white square of paint is doing in the photo above.
:: Further along in the day ::
The clouds are full of colorful passages. Pinks, purples, yellows, and muted oranges are all present in these clouds, however I am constantly striving to lay them in softly, like Whittridge did, where my tendency is to hieghten the contrast when painting skies.
I did not get the entire sky complete, I left the lower left-hand clouds untouched because when I work those, I will also need time to work the rocks and hills also.
In a few weeks, I am going on a trip, and I wanted to bring along a special sketchbook. My goal on this trip is to spend a lot of my free time sketching using quill and ink, exploring the medium, recording what I am seeing, and practicing drawing techniques.
For about a month I looked around trying to find a resource that sold sketchbooks with high quality paper, such a Twinrocker handmade paper. I was unable to find such a source, so I decided to make a sketchbook myself.
And now I am excited to start using it!
When I first began taking painting classes taught by Danni Dawson, I remember her saying what a helpful paint cerulean blue was. I remember this because I remember thinking at the time, “what does she see in it?”, because I had a tube of it and hardly ever used the color when I would squeeze some out.
Instead the squeezed out paint was more destined to dry out untouched on my palette than ever be touched by a paint brush.
At the time, I favored cobalt turquoise more whenever I would need a blue-green. I still love using cobalt turquoise, however in this past year I have grown to love the soft, semi-opaque quality of cerulean blue.
Cerulean blue because it is a softer blue can be mixed to create some wonderful atmospheric effects. And in skies I think it is a color that really excels when you want to recreate the subtle blues that fade to greenish-blues as the sky moves closer to the horizon.
Cerulean also mixes so well with its neighbors on the color wheel, that if a blue needs to be deepened or shifted ever so slightly, it is almost always better to try it first with cerulean rather than the more opaque cobalt turquoise
Cerulean Blue (PG 35) is a semi-opaque, granular pigment, that is soft and subtle, and mixes so well with its neighboring colors on the color wheel. What I have grown to love about this pigment is how it shifts and slides from being a rich greenish-blue in it pure state to soft mixtures of blues, purples, or greens.
This is a color that requires a bit of finesse in using it because it is a granular pigment. Just play around with a true cerulean blue in watercolors to really see how granular it is when laying down washes, however it is this quality that also lends it its velvety texture in oil paint, something to be cherished and used to its maximum effect.
In the past year I have switched from using the Winsor & Newton Cerulean Blue to the Blue Ridge Cerulean Blue, which are both semi-opaque paints, however I prefer how the Blue Ridge is more creamy and soft. Also to note, the Williamsburg Oil Colors Cerulean Blue is an opaque pigment as it comes out of the tube and to achieve the quality I have grown to like so much, you need to mix it with some medium like stand oil to get the semi-opaque quality.
Interested in exploring more about paint and color? I teach online classes that are all dedicated at learning how to improve your paint handling by focusing on mixing colors and learning about color theory. Each class is 4-weeks long and taken at the convenience of your own schedule and in your own home or studio.
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