Sunday, May 27, 2012

artists palette

rectangular palette

A great contributor to my recent exploratory techniques and methods, was my decision to switch, for the foreseeable future, to the hand held artists palettes such as the one pictured above.

It is quite a different experience form the table top glass palette i had been using. It has a very personal feel to it, you have it nestled in your hand and arm, and it is a part of your physical being while working, an extension of yourself.

I've noticed my colors have brightened up a bit, I am almost instinctively using a lot more paint and much less turpentine.

I believe this is due to the fact that the palette is literally in close proximity to my eyes. I don't have to look too far down and see the colors i am mixing from way up above. All i need is there, the brightness, the values, the hues, all in a compact area on my left arm.

Working with these types of palettes, the painting experience has become much more personal, i feel i am really into the process, not necessarily leaving little room for doubt, but it's almost like there is no doubt, whatever little doubts there are are being taken care right before my eyes in the mixing process on the palette.

This whole palette thing began one day not long ago while i was cleaning around in my studio and came across a paint box i had not used in a while, i opened it and saw the rectangular palette. I played around with it for a bit, pretended what it would be like to paint with it, and it felt natural.

A few days later i was getting bored of my usual working routine, and decided to have some fun and use the rectangular palette, i even added some turp and Linseed oil to the little clip on pots it came with. Needless to say now, i love every second of it, it was a revitalization my mind had been in a much need of for a while now.

oval palette

I also bought a round, oval palette, since this is what i always see all the "painters" using, figured i'd give it a try and see what difference, if any, there was.

It is a bit different, more room to work with, the mixing area is nice and wide, and even the way to hold it feels a bit more natural, but not much difference was noted.

One thing i do need to do to it, i though i did, but more needs to be done, i have to sand and seal the surface of the oval palette. I had used several coats of polyurethane, as well as several washes of Linseed oil, and though it feels smooth to the touch and the paint doesn't slide off of it, i still feel my brush getting stuck in the wood fibers from time to time, especially at the beginning stages of the painting process. After a while with all the paint on the palette surface, this "brush getting stuck" this goes away, but it is a slight pain in the beginning.

I was reading somewhere online that over time, with the oils in the oil paints, this "sealing" of the palette will take care of itself, so i suppose that is a problem that is expected of most wooden palettes at first.

all in all, I am loving working with the wooden palette. It is a very personal and different experience, and not only that, i learned that when feeling a bit stuck or in a rut, the best thing to do is to break out the box and try something different, just to change things up, and above all, do it just for fun, play with it, this is the only way to find the secrets that are waiting to be discovered.

On the 4th St Bridge, Near Lorena

"On the 4th St Bridge, Near Lorena"
oil on panel, 8 x 10

as with the previous post, I am playing around with atmospheric techniques and brushwork in this one.

I love the strong cool shadows in the foreground, with the bright white lamposts in the middle area, and the receding dirty Los Angeles sky in the far background.

this is drive back home from the westside is a favorite mine, I always take the streets, always, freeways are for going to places that are very far, they give me nothing but headaches, and they make me sleepy! But the streets through town is a very pleasant experience, the views are fantastic, it is all full of color, and having grown up and for the most part have lived in the surround areas, this place if more than familiar, it is home.

for the subject above, i was more than likely coming from Downtown LA, since this is my usual route back when doing so. This is right in the heart of East Los Angeles, especially the areas with the old bridges connecting the east side with downtown, there is a look to this part of the city that is sadly eroding away and being replaced with ugly modernism. Sad to see them go, but as they say "c'est la vie"

the image above symbolizes one thing, I have gone from the monotonous driving to "ah, here i am, in familiar territory! Not far from home"

For this painting, i used a soft synthetic Bright brush, had worked with that type of brush before, but never really gave it much importance, it was just another brush in the can, next to my Filbert sables that i almost exclusively used.

I really enjoyed the process, and the way this painting came out. Such ease and fluidity of the brush and paint felt awesome!

Speeding in the Carpool Lane

"Speeding in the Carpool Lane"
oil on panel, 5 x 11
a quick study, trying out some atmospheric techniques, as well as playing with the brush work.

Gift from Above

"Gift from Above"
oil on panel, 12 x 16

"Gift from Above"
oil on panel, 12 x 16

The idea to paint a fallen branch had been floating around in my head for a couple of days before the opportunity and push to do it fell from above.

I had been looking for new still life ideas since i was getting a bit repetitive with my usual still life subjects, and though it cool to paint a dead branch, i pictured it in my head lifeless and dark, or full of fruit and green.

the idea remained that way, an idea. I kept wondering how and where i could come across this proposed tree branch, because i didn't want to stage anything either, it had to be all natural, it must be a true fallen branch, not anything huge either, but no twigs.

a few days went buy, and one morning, on the way to my little studio in the backyard, there it was. One of our trees, a "Mispero" I believe the name of the type of tree is, had dropped a small branch in my path. This was it, this was what I had been looking for, and it turned out i didn't need to look far.

the small branch was full of fruit, and had nice and clean big leaves, it was perfect.

thank you Mispero.

Speed Stick

"Speed Stick"
oil on panel, 8 x 10

this is part of the result of what turned out to be a series instead of a grouped still life painting that was to be titled "The Tools of the Morning Routine".

I made the grouped stil ife painting already, with all the essential necessities for making oneself presentable for the day ahead, but was not satisfied with the result. Something about it bothered me, still does, i kept thinking to myself that this would work better as a series instead of having it grouped (although having the items grouped still feels right at the same time, damn brain, make up your mind!!)

So for now, I will continue with the series, here is the first "Speed Stick", smells good all day, one of my favorite brands (i can see corporate sponsorship in my future!)

I will create a label for it for titled "Tools of the Morning Routing Series" for easier navigation when wantong to find the paintings in the series grouped in one area.