Daily Painting Challenge, January 2015, Day 15

January 15, 2015













Brown mushrooms

oil on canvas panel, 6×6″

Project 20, A glass of water isn’t colorless, in Arthur Stern’s book, deals with transparency. This is a first attempt at see-through plastic: a plastic punnet of mushrooms.











I am getting very efficient at marshalling my resources, especially since I have to alternate between two outdoors setups, one for the morning and another if I’m painting in the afternoon. By the time Autumn arrives (usually ANZAC Day, 25 April where I am), I hope to have settled upon an indoors setup, complete with artificial daylight.











I have plenty of paint to get through before buying any new tubes, or upgrading quality, though Ultramarine Blue and the large Titanium White have taken a pounding. As colours are used up, I will more closely adopt Arthur Stern’s recommended colours; e.g., Cadmium yellow pale instead of the current Lemon Yellow.  I had the presence of mind today to photograph the underpainting in oils, creating visual interest with the envelope surrounding the main subject. I have no hesitation these days in “shaping” my desired contour by using the entire side of my round-tipped palette knife to the maximum extent possible; fiddling with a “half-side”palette knife tip is arduous if not hazardous. After a month of this, I’ll be ready to absorb the approach of others when it comes to palette knife painting; Arthur Stern indicates to do whatever it takes.














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.



4 Responses to “Daily Painting Challenge, January 2015, Day 15”

  1. cavepainter Says:

    That’s a very interesting composition, with the three background colors divided in thirds by the corner. The transparency worked fairly well, though the edge trailed off a bit on the left. 🙂

    • rodbyatt Says:

      Thanks! Stern is big on the corner composition (mainly to get readers to maximize different color spots in shadows and reflections) but personally I’m not sure it suits me personally (it flattens the picture plane and competes with the highlighted objects). I’m not happy with the overall “heat haze” effect caused by the impasto today; I’m really going to have to re-consider my knife technique. I know I need to work a lot more on mixing greens – another weakness exposed (!). Transparency at left would have worked had I persisted with the different greens which were visible (refracted by the plastic). Charles Hawthorne, quoted by Stern, insisted on pre-mixing all colors before putting them to canvas and the advantage of that is that decision-making becomes more holistic compared to adding color “on the run”, a habit I’m falling into. I ‘cheated’ by using identical color spots more than once across the composition – I know this kills visual interest (though compulsory on larger canvases…). I’m realizing a lot of these problems would be resolved if I worked on the painting over two days instead of one. Not happy either with the main objects being so low down – the photo has them higher and I prefer that. All that said, I’m trying not get caught up with analysis after-the-fact. Using your review of tube paints in upgrades I’m contemplating!

      • cavepainter Says:

        Always keep in mind that there’s a lot of hype and marketing in paint, and what I like to say is that art is 1% your tools and 99% what you do with them. There is something to be said about quality, and better tools will fight you less and last longer or be better suited to certain techniques, but after using as many brands one thing I’ve learned is that there’s enough good products out there that it’s hard not to find good paint or brushes. If you listen to marketing then the biggest difference between one brand and their competitors is quality, but I think when just looking at artist grade materials alone the three biggest differences between brands are usually selection, price, and consistency.

        I’ve never used Art Spectrum oil paints because it’s hard to find anyone that stocks it in the US and the price for it here is high. I know of artists in Australia who use AS and have said it’s good, but I don’t know how it compares directly. They’ve also complained that paints from Europe (and maybe the US?) are very expensive over there. I’ve heard good things about Langridge, another Australian brand, but I’ve never used them. They look like they’re really worth checking out. It looks like Williamsburg is available in Australia through them. That’s definitely a good brand, probably one of the top ones, and a few of my favorite paints are from them, but even in the US (where they’re made) they’re expensive enough that certain colors are significantly more than what others ask. Other colors don’t have as big of a difference, and they do carry a few unique paints that I really like. 🙂

  2. rodbyatt Says:

    Wise words, indeed! Will check out Langridge. Aware of the US/Australia price differentials; there seems to be three price points where I live: $US10 (Art Spectrum); $11-20 (Old Holland, Schminke Mussini, Williamsburg, LeFranc & Bourgeois “Louvre”, Daniel Smith) and over $30 (Blockx, Gamblin 1980, LeFranc & Bourgeois).

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