Category Archives: Teaching

Cadmium Vermilion/Cadmium Scarlet (PR 108)

Cadmium Vermilion/Cadmium Scarlet (PR – 108)

Information: opaque, lightfast
Handling Characteristics: Saturated red with a shift towards orange when used purely and when mixed with other pigments.

Cadmium Vermilion is one of my favorite warm opaque reds to use. I feel as if I use this color in all my paintings in some form or another.

Like Cadmium red medium it mixes well with other colors, either in two color or three color mixtures, and can make beautiful skin tones. Personally, I find cadmium vermilion to be essential for glowing flesh tones.

Cadmium Vermilion is also important for mixing a variety of grays, when mixed with blues or greens the grays of silver and pewter are captured.

My experience with Cadmium Vermilion, sometimes called Cadmium Scarlet (PR 108), comes from using three different manufacturers’ versions. Each version is a range of warm, orange-ish, medium opaque red. You’ll see from my swatch card that in the fourth row I have included Gamblin’s Cadmium Red Light (PR 108) also. This is because Gamblin’s Cad. Red Light really falls in to the same spectrum as the Cadmium Vermilion examples.

Row 1:
Name: Cadmium Vermilion (PR 108)
Manufacturer: Blue Ridge Oil Colors
My thoughts: Of this range of warm reds, Blue Ridge,s Cadmium Vermilion is one of my favorite oil colors to use. The first reason is because it is almost a spot on color of the red petals of an oriental poppy. Then also because it is so lush, and I particularly like how the color shifts to a pretty delightful salmon pink tone when mixed with whites. Also with this specific oil color, if you mix it down to a very, very light tint you are able to re-create the Old Holland color, Brilliant Yellow-Reddish, a color I used to always keep out on my palette until I realized it is so easy to mix with lead white and cadmium vermilion.

Row 2:
Name: Cadmium Vermilion (PR 108)
Manufacturer: Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors
My thoughts: the Williamsburg version of Cadmium Vermilion is another favorite of mine, it starts out more red than the Blue Ridge version, thus as it tints down it maintains a pink-ish quality, however there is still enough of a touch of orange in this color that makes it nice to work with.

Row 3:
Name: Cadmium Scarlet (PR 108)
Manufacturer: Winsor and Newton Artists Oil Colors
My thoughts: During my first years of learning how to paint with oils, the Winsor and Newton Cadmium Scarlet was my orangey-red I kept out on my palette. It was the one my mentor, Danni Dawson, used and I did not switch until I began to be curious about other paint manufacturers and what they offered. After trying the Blue Ridge and Williamsburg versions, I quit using the Winsor and Newton one.

Row 4:
Name: Cadmium Red Light (PR 108)
Manufacturer: Gamblin
My thoughts: I have not explored as much with the Gamblin color on this swatch card, however because I had some of this paint I wanted to place it in its place in relationship to my other colors.

Overall, it is a tossup for me in whether I choose to use the Blue Ridge or Williamsburg oil color. For several years I have been only using the Blue Ridge version, however when they had the fire in their factory a year ago and I ran low on my cadmium vermilion, I began using the Williamsburg version a bit more. I find if I start a painting with one version, I prefer to finish the painting with that version. I don’t switch back and forth between manufacturers when painting, especially if I am using the cadmium vermilion for flesh tones, it just becomes too tricky.

Here is an image of my original swatches I did of the cadmium reds and oranges before I began to make the graduated swatches.


These articles about my color palette and the oil colors I use are the result of my experience and continued exploration. I have purchased all oil colors on my own and I have not received any reimbursement from the mentioned paint manufacturers or art supply stores. The usefulness and perceived attributes expressed here in these articles are my personal opinions.

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My Full-Color Palette

Today I am starting a series of articles that will focus on the individual oil colors that make up the full-color palette I use on a regular basis.

You may wonder why I have so many colors on my palette and why I do not use a limited color palette. This is because I have chosen to paint with oils in the colorist tradition of striving to capture the visual impression of color and light, versus focusing mostly on depicting form and letting color play a minor role in my artistic expression. By using the colorist methodology of painting, I have found that I need the most saturated version of the colors available, I then have the option to desaturate my mixtures as the situation in the painting warrants. Some of the oil colors on my palette are pure pigments and others are convenience mixtures.

Let me share a bit about my painting process. I use layers of color tints (one or two colors mixed with white) to build up the three-dimensional illusion of space, mass, and value in my paintings. Often I start with pure, intensely saturated color tints, and then refine and desaturate these initial layers of color as the painting evolves by laying additional layers of paint on top of previous layers. I look for color compliments and ways to enhance the visual impression of color and light in my paintings, however I also strive to always maintain a strong feeling of form in my work. This means that modeling and getting the values accurate is equally important to me as it is for accurately capturing the color passages in my paintings.

Because when you’re painting you are using a physical thing, pigment suspended in linseed oil or another medium, some colors do not mix like they are expected to if you follow the rules of color theory and because of that some pigments/oil colors are better than others when working and interacting with other oil colors.

As part of my studio practice I believe in exploration and experimenting with my results and testing what different oil colors interact with others. In this past year I have decided to go back, really investigate the oil colors I use on a regular basis. In the beginning of this investigation, I just painted out a pure from the tube swatch next to a 50/50 mixture of the paint with white and labeled them. Quickly I realized this was not providing me with enough information that I was seeking, so I began to make graduated scaled swatches of each color.

These upcoming articles are my way of organizing and listing out all of the relevant information I know about them. All information is derived from my own experience. I will also share tips and opinions about why certain pigments have a constant place on my daily palette. I will be comparing paints from different manufacturers and I’ll explain which one I prefer and why.

This is going to be a long series of articles and I hope to post a new article each week. However at times, lulls in the frequency may occur, so I hope you will be patient. These articles on the oil colors that make up my color palette is something I’ve been working on already since June 2016 and I look forward to sharing with you some of the discoveries I have found.

So let’s start with a list of the colors I keep on my palette all the time.

This is my daily full-color palette set up. The first column of color swatches are the oil colors straight from the tube. For the next columns (two through five) I mix different whites I use on a regular basis with each color. In each of these columns, for each of the color tints, I tried to mix consistent volumes of white with pigment. This way it would be easier to discern the pigment density of each color and the tinting strength of the whites. The second column of color swatches are made with a mixture of Rublev’s Lead White#1. The third column uses Rublev’s Venetian White. The fourth column uses Gamblin’s Titanium White, and the fifth column uses Williamsburg’s Zinc Buff White. (Eventually I will have an article that is just dedicated to the different whites I use, these four whites are just a few of what I explore and work with.

I know that there are many colors out there, however for this project, the oil colors I personally use and have explored are going to be written about. It is my goal with this project to share with others what I have learned from the different oil colors out there, hopefully you learn something as well and make better and more specific decisions about the oil colors you choose for yourself.

Let’s begin (in no specific order) with a color from my palette.

Cadmium Orange (PO 20)

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Teaching Information Update

I have two openings in my weekend semi-private lessons.

Spring term starts on Saturday, April 1st, and will go for eight sessions. (Please see details for exact dates, as spring term is interrupted with Spring Break and the Easter holiday, and two travel commitments by me). The curriculum for spring term will focus on mastering color with a mixture of color exploration exercises and painting floral still-life setups from life.

Also, this year I have added a summer term. The curriculum for summer will focus on painting flowers from life in the studio and en plein air out in my garden. (A plein air easel is required equipment). The first class begins on July 8th and goes for eight sessions.

*I share my studio with my beautiful and old Abyssinian, Slim. My studio is not metro accessible and students are responsible for their own transportation.

Spring term:
$305 for eight sessions
Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM
Meeting on these days: April 1, 29, May 13, 20, June 3, 10, 17, and 24

Summer term:
$305 for eight sessions
Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM
Meeting on these days: July 8, 15, 22, 29, August 5, 12, 19, and 26

Fall term:
$305 for eight sessions
Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM
Meeting on these days: September 30, October 7, 14, 21, 28, November 4, 11, and 18


Slim looking regal

I had to share a picture of our kitty Slim, she always looks regal.

She is also turning 16 years old this month and is as spry as a kitten sometimes, jumping up on high shelves and scampering around!

We love her.

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Semi-Private Oil Painting Lessons

7 x 5 inches - oil on linen panel

Are you interested in learning to realistically paint with oils with a great deal of personal attention?

If so, I teach semi-private art lessons on Sunday mornings and currently there is an opening for this upcoming Fall Term.

We meet in the intimate space of my home studio* and for the fall term we will be focusing on mastering metals.  Each week  you will work from a still-life setup that includes a metal object.  Students work in oils.  All levels are welcome.

Fall term begins Sunday, September 13th
Tuition is $285 for seven weeks
10am to 1pm, Sundays
September 20th thru November 22th, no class on Sept 27th, Oct 11th, and Nov 1st.
Please email me for more information.

Supplies are not included, here is a recommended supply list for beginning oil painting students.

*I live near Mount Vernon  and we share the studio with my constant companion, Slim, our Abyssinian kitty.

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Painting in the Garden Class


{a still life in progress}

This past weekend was a monumental one for me in two ways. First, on Sunday, the reception for my first large solo-exhibition took place. In this show 25 paintings and four graphite drawings were on display, and I feel the exhibit really marks a point in my art career where all the hard work of the previous five years is rewarded. It was fun seeing my work grouped together and in a place other than my living room… and in observing the collection of paintings, it is remarkable seeing the repeated themes in my work.

The second thing that I embraced this weekend is my new willingness to begin teaching group classes. Up until now, I have limited my teaching experiences to private one-on-one lessons. However, I have been considering teaching group classes more, after several weeks of thinking about it, I have decided to offer an eight-week plein air class in my home garden.


{another still life in progress}

This is because for the last two years I have been painting in my yard, sometimes focusing on my flowers in situ and at other times setting up still-life vignettes. I have found so much to enjoy in these experiences that I want to share it with others.

My goal for this class is to cover the basics of painting and drawing outdoors with an emphasis on slowing down and enjoying the creative process of observing and creating art.

Class starts in a few weeks on Saturday, July 26th

Painting in the Garden
Enroll now via Paypal $240

Saturdays, July 26, 2014 to September 20, 2014
No class on August 30th, Labor Day Weekend

painting-in-the-garden-collage for web

{a watercolor of irises, fragrant nicotiana, and a still life in progress}

Each class will include a demonstration, plus having time to paint. Students may work in oil, watercolor, pastel, or pen and ink. Weekly lessons will cover composition, color, and technique with an overarching focus on slowing down and finding appreciation in the simple details. All levels are welcome.

Treat yourself to some quality time and plein air painting in my garden. Set up an easel or paint in a journal, surrounded by dappled shade, lush greenery, and colorful blossoms. You choose to paint directly from the garden or from a still-life vignette — whatever strikes your fancy…


To learn more about the class, visit the Painting in the Garden Class page, or download the class brochure to register by mail.

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