Painting different textures & clean colours

Copper Plums

Just a quick painting in honour of the Victoria Plum. What a fruit? The crop this year is so great the tree is in jeopardy. God forbid! However, myself, the wasps and the birds are doing our best to relieve the situation.

Alla prima again. But it was 40 minutes before I could eat the models. Anyway, just a few interesting points about this painting. The copper kettle has a hard brittle surface, not like polished silver, more of a ‘brushed metal’ effect. The skin of the plums is like satin – no highlight. Both copper and plums are similar colour but texture is contrasting. The satin cloth is similar in texture to the plums but colourless. There is also the texture of the old wooden table top.

On a different matter there is another important painting subject which is rarely discussed these days – chroma. In practical terms its the ‘clarity’ of colours in a painting. The paints used by the artist are not like the colours used, for example, in photoshop. Mixing colours in a computer is a mathematical process. The resultant colour does not loose its intensity. Artists’ pigments when mixed, loose some of their intensity. A good example is mixing a blue and yellow to produce green. This green will look more natural in a landscape painting as opposed to the intense green straight from the tube. The more pigments in the mix the more towards mud the colour goes. To complicate the matter further, some pigments don’t mix well and ‘kill’ each other. The solution is simple. Keep the number of different pigments at an absolute minimum. My basic 3 are, Burnt Sienna (red), Yellow Ochre (yellow) and Cobalt Blue (blue). No matter what combination of the 3 are used the resultant mixes are always clean and natural for landscape. They mix well together. If the resultant colour mixes need to be pushed in a different direction a little pure colour can be added from a different pigment. An example, like the blue and yellow above, is the green produced by mixing Yellow Ochre and Cobalt Blue. If its a little dull (this green tends to be), adding small amounts of Viridian (a green bottle colour) makes a more ‘green’ green.

The most valuable result of this approach is being able to remember the resultant combinations because the number of different pigments is small. The more you paint the more you learn. You will remember that horrid green (Yellow Ochre and Cobalt Blue plus Pigment X) and will not use it again.

The next post will have the time lapse video of the above and more about the painting itself.