Tuesday, May 01, 2012

"Return to Zion", 16x20, oil on linen, Zion National park painting, The Watchman, Virgin River, Palette knife landscapes, Maryanne Jacobsen art


"Return to Zion", 16x20, oil on linen

I think this needs a little more work, but it is 95% finished.

Last week I used a limited palette to paint this very same scene of The Watchman and Virgin River at Zion Nat'l Park in Utah. I only used 4 colors in my last study (plus white) and I'll confess that it was pretty challenging for me to work without my usual array of pigments.

So today I decided to try the same piece again, only larger, and with my usual pigments that number about 12-15, plus white. What I wanted to find out was whether or not having more pigments to work with, enhanced or detracted from the overall painting, using the last painting of Zion as my comparison.

Although the larger canvas gave me more freedom to work, I actually must concede that I like the small painting with the limited palette better! I still need to add the tree branches on the left when the paints are dryer, but other than that, the scene is the same in both studies. If you haven't read that blog post, here is the picture of the smaller painting:

The problem for me with using a limited palette is that I do a lot of palette knife work and that requires tons of paint!

So , before I started the smaller painting of Zion, I used those 4 colors (cad Yellow pale, Ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson and windsor green) to create all the other colors that I figured I'd need- Purples, warm greens, orange, grays, etc, etc. That meant using a heck of a lot of mixing space to find and create these colors!

I am sure it gets easier to mix these secondary colors with practice, but the problem for me is that when I go outdoors and paint en plein air, there is a limit to how much mixing room I have! So is it better to lay out all my dozen or so paints beforehand, as I usually do, and have them Johnny on the spot, ready to go? Or is it better to just bring these  4 little tubes and hope I can create a decent painting with limited mixing room?

Not sure if any of this makes sense, but if there are any artists out there that have gone through the same experiments with mixing on a limited palette and have a solution to the "Mixing Room" problem, I would love to hear from you!


No comments: