Daily Painting Challenge, January 2015, Day 3

January 3, 2015

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Oil on canvas paper, 8×12″

Project 3: How green can turn red

This is the third in Arthur Stern’s 22 projects developing skill in colour mixing, a bright colour palette and palette knife technique. Just seven colours today – the pink far left is light reflecting off the shiny surface. Stern is heavily indebted to Charles Hawthorne (1872-1930).

So far, I’ve resisted any commentary. Sometimes it’s better to withhold judgement and self-talk until a sustained project like this is well underway.

The first two projects were debilitating, perhaps because of the oppressive mid-summer heat, perhaps because I haven’t painted in over a month. So I changed tack a bit today. Instead of working indoors, I moved outdoors.

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This helped in assessing spot colour, hitherto done in the dark. The sunlight hardly changes in a sixty-minute stint. This is a long way from the work I’ve done in the last six months using a limited palette (yellow ochre, burnt sienna and ultramarine blue) and the leap in to a 20th-century colour palette is disconcerting. I’m getting used to Stern’s attention to hue, luminosity and intensity when mixing colours: is my mix a yellow or a yellow-green? is my mix too light/dark (in terms of key)? is it too bright/dull? I’ve been using painted backdrops (acrylic on cartridge) instead of sheets of coloured cardboard; the textural quality of the paper may adversely affect tomorrow’s project.

Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days, January 2015, organised by Leslie Saeta (http://lesliesaeta.blogspot.com.au)

Reference: Stern, Arthur. How to see color and paint it: a series of projects designed to open your eyes to colors you never saw before. New York, Watson-Guptill, 1984.

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