Friday, July 27, 2012

Oil painting in different palettes

Prior to yesterday's painting workshop in Albany, I did two sample pieces of the painting I was to use for my demonstration reference.

The first was done using burnt sienna as my "red", yellow ochre as my "yellow" and French ultramarine as my "blue".

The second was done using cadmium scarlet as my "red", cadmium yellow deep as my "yellow" and French ultramarine, again, as my "blue".

The third was my demonstration piece and was done using permanent crimson as my "red", cadmium yellow deep as my "yellow" and French ultramarine as my "blue".

The results are shown below.

three oil paintings comparing different 3-colour palettes. andy dolphin.

The first painting, using earth colours for the red and yellow, has a strong tonal feel to it where the colour is barely relevant, while the third painting, using a cool red to make saturated shadows, has a richer colourist feel to it. One is quietly cool while the other feels like a warm summer's morning.

The centre painting has muted shadows resulting from the combination of a warm, "orangey", scarlet with the purply blue, but shows wonderfully warm highlights in the dune shrubbery and in the sand in the immediate foreground. In fact, until I painted those highlighted areas, the second painting differed very little from the first and it took some effort to get a bit of colour into the foreground shadow area.

I like them all though each one carries a different feeling. Ultimately, were I to do the same scene as a full studio piece, I would likely use a combination of all the colours listed so that my shadow areas are as rich as they can be, without compromising the highlight areas and vice versa. Cadmium scarlet is a rich, warm red and makes very bright oranges when mixed with a similarly warm yellow. Permanent crimson, on the other hand, is a cool, bluish red and makes wonderfully saturated purple shadows when mixed with a reddish blue like ultramarine. Earth colours like burnt sienna and yellow ochre will always make muted (greyed, desaturated) colours in any mixes they particpate in.

Using a three-colour palette is a great way to do quick paintings with little fuss. You can either choose three random colours from your reds, yellows and blues and see what results you get, or choose the three colours that will give you the most desirable result in a selected area.

Painting workshop in Albany

I hosted a painting workshop at Albany's Vancouver Art Centre yesterday for members of the Albany Art Group. We all had fun and there was some impressive results among the group.

As with my previous workshop in Mt Barker, I had members choose just three colours - a "red", a "yellow" and a "blue" - plus white, from their own sets of oils or acrylics. Then everyone followed along as I painted a seascape with a foreground sand dune in shadow.

Here's my demo painting from the workshop. The room we used at VAC has mercury vapour lighting which, being strong in the green end of the spectrum, sucks the life out of reds. As a result, there's a tendency to compensate by adding more red than usual into mixes. The photo was taken outdoors, where the red shows up quite strongly under natural lighting.

seascape oil painting with sand dune by andy dolphin

Here's some of the team hard at work.

seascape workshop albany group - andy dolphin

My thanks go to everyone who attended and I look forward to doing it again.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rudy - a chook in oil

Here's Rudy, my daughter's cross-bred, feather footed bantam rooster, now immortalised in oils.

chook, chicken, rooster, oil painting, art
25x35cm oil on board. 
 © Andy Dolphin

We've had chooks since our "tree change" almost nine years ago but this is the first time I've painted one. I've taken lots of photos of them over the years but was never inspired enough to commit one to paint until now. Mind you, the Canon 1100D DSLR camera does make the task a little easier than my old point-and-shoot digicam did.

Here's the three main stages in the painting process...

step by step oil painting, chook, rooster

I used a "wash-in then wipe-out" method to achieve the highlight areas in the stage one under-painting. I gave the whole board a random wash of burnt sienna thinned with mineral spirits and a lean medium. Then I washed in some darker ares with burnt sienna and ultramarine. I threw a little viridian in too, for variety and to contrast with the reds. With an abstract background in place, I added the major shadow areas for Rudy using the same colours, plus permanent crimson (a cool red). Then I dipped a cloth in turps and wiped out some of the main highlight areas.

This set the stage for the rest of the painting and gave me an opportunity to check proportions and positioning. You may be able to tell that Rudy grew a little taller and thinner after the stage one photo was taken.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tim Minchin's eyes

Digital painting in Photoshop:

I was just looking through some old digital doodles and sketches and came across this  sketch of Tim Minchin's eyes. I'd been working on doing a caricature but never quite "got it". Sometimes I'll do a more-realistic sketch of major features, as I did with Emily Deschanel, to see if I can find the secret to capturing the character.

With Ms Deschanel I found the character. With Tim, however, the secret remained a secret. I'm not sure if it's because he is a real-life caricature to begin with.

I'll try again one day.

tim minchin digital sketch by andy dolphin

 (Minchin's Eyes - digital sketch. 900x647px . © 2010, Andy Dolphin)

Crusoe Jetty oil painting

Here's a little oil painting I did a couple of weeks ago.

oil painting of boat & jetty by andy dolphin
( Crusoe Jetty. 35x25cm oil on board. © Andy Dolphin)