Friday, May 23, 2008

The sickness spreads, and paint geekiness

It's official now.  The girl is sick too.  
I went to the doc yesterday and my lungs are clear (so far) and I don't appear to have secondary infections going on.  So, despite the fact that I'm ill, have an off again, on again fever and sound like I've traded my vocal chords for sandpaper, I can still declare:
My immune system is mighty.  Here me roar!
Actually, you can hear me roar later, after I'm done with the laryngitis thingy.  I'm supposed to rest my voice as much as possible.  Which, btw, for those of you not in the know, whispering is as hard if not harder on your voice than talking.  Don't whisper if you have laryngitis.  Write a note.  Point.  Shake your head no no and point again more firmly.  That.  That right there.  Yes!  No, not that, that.  Oh, I give up, I'll get it myself.

In painting news I plan to get some new paints.  I've been working with the same palette for a long time (well, about four years which is not that long I guess) and, although I'm sure there's much more to learn about these colors, I've learned to trust their properties, how they mix,and I know how they lay beside each other.  It's time for some new colors to shake things up.
My 'normal' palette is primarily composed of Schmincke aquarelles (watercolors) with some M. Grahams.  I use vanadium yellow, gamboge, vermillion, cadmium red, madder red dark, quinacridone violet, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue and viridian as my 'primary' colors and yellow ochre, raw sienna, raw umber, and Hooker's green as my 'earth' colors.  My earth palette is pathetically limited and I can't paint with it in a functional manner.  Although I don't have black or gray I haven't missed them.  I mix them.
Anyway, I went to Art's Desire to snoop around.  I was almost out of quincridone violet and viridian so I picked up a tube of each (all of these are in M. Grahams, a local company, which I'm moving over to away from Schmincke) and I got pthalocyanine green because it looked useful to me.  I'd also been thinking about how prussian blue would fit into my earth palette, and since it was right there ....  After some hemming and hawing I also picked up burnt umber, a nice, red-leaning brown.  
For 'normal' colors I'd like to add new gamboge because as a yellow it has more range and interest than regular gamboge.  I'm also picking up perylene green, which, I admit, may make me lazy about mixing my blacks.  I'm probably going to phase out Hunter's green.  Although Hunter's is an artist's standard, it hasn't been very useful to me with my current palette and when I dip into it as a straight color or for mixing I'm usually disappointed with how flat it is.  With the new additions I may change my mind.  I have until the end of the tube to decide.  For now, though, it's on the 'need not restock' list.  I also at some point picked up chrome yellow.  I never use the darned thing.  What was I thinking?  
But the colors I'm really excited about are the Daniel Smith Primateks.  These so-called mineral colors show a lot of promise.  This overview on Handprint discusses some of the strengths and weaknesses of these colors.  One negative for Handprint is a positive for me--I paint very dark, and so the dark nature of the mineral hues will serve to my advantage.  I'm also excited to see how the precipitation will work on yupo.  Will it do too much?  Behave itself?  Go wild?  Disappoint?  Can't wait to try.  My choices are blue apatite, sodalite, piemontite and bloodstone.  With these colors, I think my earth palette will become at least as fun to play with as my primary palette.  I can expand as an artist and play with some grown up colors.  

One thing is certain.  My normal palette (the actual palette rather than the colors I have) is too small.  Either that or I have to break down and get a second one, separating the earth from the primaries.  I can no longer foist my earth colors into mixing pockets.  I'll need all the mixing pockets now.  Interestingly enough, although I hadn't planned on it, I'll end up with ten primary colors (replacing gamboge with new gamboge) and twelve earth colors (if prussian blue works out in that palette--it may end up fitting better with the primaries.)  This will be the first time I'll have more colors in the earth palette than the primary.  I think it will work really well with the subject matter I choose, but I won't know until I get there.  

So today I'll paint some with what I have and see what happens.  First thing, got to do some paint swatches and see where I'm at, and then it's onward and forward from there.

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