Monday, May 31, 2010

The Lake Loosely

I wanted to try out one of my favorite mixes, Yellow Ochre and Ultramarine blue (from exercise 47) with an interpretation of a familiar spot on the lake. Just two pigments and only a #12 sable--I'd never before gone past a #6. About an hour and a half.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


After six weeks of painting boxes, it's time for a break. I felt like I was hiding out in my exercises. After all, how will I every learn how to paint if I don't paint? But of course, I do recognize the benefits of training exercises. In fact, I used some of that mixing experience here.

I've been reading Making Colors Sing by Jeanne Dobie. I'd thought that I'd try out some topics from that book and I did get there in a roundabout fashion here--background glazing with yellows and violets to push the brighter violets to the foreground. More on that book and its ideas to come.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mixing Exercises 37, 38, 49, and 50

And that's that! All fifty exercises of Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green by Michael Wilcox are now completed.

37 was a transparency exercise. Especially the cadmiums covered well.
38 compared tonal range of a light wash to a heavy application of a pigment.
49 and 50 were about comparing light washes of a pigment with a mix with Titanium White.

A Fledgling Appears! (Day 15)

While gazing about the yard this morning, I noticed a bit of movement. Could it be? Yes! :-)

Can you pick out the fledgling?

Yup, you found it. Center of photo. Here's a crop of that same shot.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mixing Exercises 47 and 48

Exercise 47 - Introducing Yellow Ochre.
Yellow Ochre and French Ultramarine.

Exercise 48 - Introducing Raw Sienna.
Raw Sienna and and French Ultramarine.

This wraps up all the color chart exercises in Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green. There are four exercises involving opaqueness testing and mixing with white that I expect to complete over the next day or two. Funny how the robins and this exercise series are closing so closely together.

I do have a new project waiting in the wings, something that will carry us along until the watercolor course begins. And speaking of the course, yesterday my Cornell account was opened for that course and I've been poking around there. Although I spend a tremendous amount of time in front of screens day and night, I still prefer the pleasure of paper and ink in hand. I am collecting all the course material and formatting it up nicely for printing. Half the course is already complete.

The Fledglings Four

In the morn, three chicks nested.
By afternoon, the nest emptied.

Do well, little ones!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mixing Exercise 46

Exercise 46 - Introducing Yellow Ochre.
Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Scarlet.

I guess I didn't much think about Yellow Ochre as a yellow, that is until those oranges started popping out. I knew having colors so close together could lead to some nuanced mixes--I tried mixing in tiny bits of Cad Scarlet and it worked!

All my mixing exercises have used Winsor and Newton exclusively. But tonight, I slipped in the right hand column using M. Graham Yellow Ochre. I think this pigment might be a bit cooler than the W&N. This is my very first M. Graham experience. I found the paint a good deal smoother than W&N, not so heavy, much easier to mix. Smelled funny... Plastic? Fishy? Dunno... more sniffing needed. And, of course, do need to try more paints.

Robins Day 13

This morning all four robins were back in the nest. Coming home from work this afternoon, I found one out of the nest and two within. I looked around the yard and bushes but didn't see number four. This evening the three remaining are all back in the nest.

Between work and mosquitoes, I've had little time to simply hang out in the yard and watch the behavior of the parents. Perhaps this weekend I can catch some robin family rituals.

Robins Day 13 from John Perry on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mixing Exercise 45

Exercise 45 - Introducing Burnt Sienna.
Cerulean Blue and Burnt Sienna.

Once again I enjoyed mixing a blue into Burnt Sienna--this is a very cool warm color.

Robins Day 12

It's funny how things sometimes work out. I wasn't happy with the picture quality of my first round of shots--this one being an example.

On my remedial followup, mother robin waited not so patiently for me to clear out. She has no problem issuing cautionary squawks even with a full beak.

And look at this. Our first fledgling graduate. Just moments before, all four were nest bound.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mixing Exercise 44

Exercise 44 - Introducing Burnt Sienna.
Phthalo Blue and Burnt Sienna.

There is something about these subdued tones that move me. Similar is yesterday's mix with Ultramarine Blue. Tomorrow wraps up the Burnt Sienna and Blue series with Cerulean. Then it's on for three additional earth pigment exercises and two white mixes. That's it!

Robins Day 11

It was rather hot today--in the high 80's F--and nearly record setting. Our little ones look none the worse. In fact, they look great!

Cornell estimates "nestling period" at 13 days. It's sure looking like a tight fit already!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Robins Day 10

They now barely fit in the nest but I suppose mother bird knew that when she was building.

Mixing Exercises 41, 42, and 43

Exercise 41 - Introducing Burnt Sienna.
Winsor Lemon and Burnt Sienna.

Exercise 42 - Introducing Burnt Sienna.
Permanent Rose and Burnt Sienna.

Exercise 43 - Introducing Burnt Sienna.
Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna.
My favorite of these three exercises, the neutrals here are amazing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mixing Exercises 36, 39, and 40

I thought I'd spend some extra time and wrap up the Phthalo Green series. I skipped exercises 37 and 38--they're not color charts but some simple exercises in opacity. Next up is a series using earth pigments--the siennas and yellow ochre.

Exercise 36 - Introducing Phthalocyanine Green.
Winsor Green BS and Winsor Blue GS .

Exercise 39 - Introducing Phthalocyanine Green.
Permanent Rose and Winsor Green BS .
This has to be one of the most pleasurable mixes in the entire series. I was completely stunned with the range of lovely colors produced using these two transparent and staining pigments. I wonder how many paintings have used just these two?

Exercise 40 - Introducing Phthalocyanine Green.
Cadmium Scarlet and Winsor Green BS .

Robins Day 9

They are all continuing to do well. Feathering in is progressing rapidly. Once again, today they remained crouched in the nest but with no sign of trying to exit the nest. Today I watched them from below--occasionally one would hang its head over the side of the nest.

Robins leave the nest at thirteen days old. I'll continue with daily photos as long as I feel that I'm not disturbing them too greatly. My daily sessions last for only a minute or so and only once per day.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mixing Exercise 35 and Rublev Chart

Exercise 35 - Introducing Phthalocyanine Green.
Cadmium Yellow and Winsor Green BS .

Here's a simple chart of the Rublev colors. Also included is a bit of random mixing.

Robins Starting Week 2

I'd read to expect a change a behavior, that they would begin to display fear. This afternoon they remained crouched in the nest and could not be induced to feed (by rubbing or tapping on the side of the nest).

Rather than bother the little ones further, I turned my movie making to mother bird.

Robin Mother from John Perry on Vimeo.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mixing Exercise 34

Exercise 34 - Introducing Phthalocyanine Green.
Winsor Lemon and Winsor Green BS .
Beautiful and clean colors. I kept the top row a bit less saturated than usual, perhaps because I started out with yellow.

Dearest reader, you must be so tired of color squares. To be honest, sometimes it is a chore here, but I am learning, maybe more than I can now realize. Soon the birds will have flown and the squares all filled, just about the time my watercolor course begins. Change is afoot...

Robins and Openings

Eyes are wide open and that's not all!

Robins and Openings from John Perry on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mixing Exercise 33

Exercise 33 - Introducing Phthalocyanine Green.
Winsor Green BS and Ultramarine Blue.

Today's exercise uses a blue that extends a bit further away than yesterday's blue. I can see something of yesterday's range of mixes contained in today's exercise. Curiously, I never realized the extent of violet in the French Ultramarine. (I'm seeing more violet on my chart than this screen.)

The Natural Pigments order arrived today! Here's a little study using the Rublev brand watercolors, Nicosia Green Earth and Italian Raw Sienna. There seems to be a bit of grittiness with these paints although perhaps I've simply not had enough experience with my W&N earth paints. I'll have a better idea soon as my mixing exercises will next week turn to using earths.

Robin Chick Day 6

Isn't this growth just phenomenal? Wing feathers coming in strong... Eyes opening... The two facing us gave me a bit of open beak behavior before I could get the camera in place. I couldn't induce it after that. I'd read that just the sound of their mother approaching gets them begging.

Robin Chicks Day 6 from John Perry on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mixing Exercise 32

Exercise 32 - Introducing Phthalocyanine Green.
Winsor Green BS and Cerulean Blue.

Phthalo Green is a powerful pigment. Just a bit goes a long way.

Robin Chicks Day 5

They are growing so quickly! Eat and sleep...

Robin Chicks Day 5 from John Perry on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mixing Exercise 31

Well, this wraps up the three pigment mixes. Some lovely colors here... From now on, I'm back to two pigments with some interesting mixes.

I have twice emailed Winsor and Newton regarding their cadmium mixes and sadly they have disregarded my queries. On the other hand, within an hour of emailing Natural Pigments regarding an overcharge on my recent order, I received a phone call assuring me that their billing mistake was corrected and never made it onto my credit card. Nice going NP! Shame on you, W&N.

Resting Robins

The little ones were relatively quiet this afternoon. I'm very careful to spend as little time as possible bothering them. Today's images took a bit more effort, juggling the umbrella and camera in today's showers. The babes stayed nice and dry.

Resting Robins from John Perry on Vimeo.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mixing Exercise 30

Exercise 30 - The complementary pair, red and green, with violet-red and yellow-green. Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon, and Cerulean Blue.

Tomorrow's exercise will the last in the series of mixes involving only the six colors--Cadmium Scarlet, Permanent Rose, French Ultramarine, Cerulean Blue, Winsor Lemon and Cadmium Yellow. (That is, except for Exercise 9 with the Pthalo Blue.)

The six additional pigments to be included in the remaining mixes are Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Pthalo Green, Pthalo Blue, and Titanium White.

There are fifty exercises in all and I expect to wrap them up just in time for the start of the Cornell watercolor course.

With all my tubes of paint, I was surprised to find that I was without a Raw Sienna. Here's how I decided to fill in that blank. ;-)

Robin... Yawn...

Are their eyes about to open? And look at those beaks! Our little ones are growing up so quickly...

A further note to email subscribers... I mentioned in yesterday's post that Vimeo movies do not embed well with Feedburner email. Today I noticed that nothing of the movie appears in the Comcast web mail reader. If you've not seen movies the past few days, do hop on or fly over to the blog directly!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Flowers About the Yard

Seems I don't often pick up the camera as I did last year, but the chives and buttercups looked so inviting...

Mixing Exercise 29

Exercise 29 - The complementary pair, red and green, with orange-red and yellow-green. Cadmium Scarlet, Winsor Lemon, and Cerulean Blue.

Similar to the previous exercise, except this green leans into yellow. As the green drops out with increasing doses of red, orange appears.

Now There Are Four!

Look who's arrived! Number four! :-)

Here's Mother waiting for me clear out.

Robin Chicks

Dear email subscribers, Vimeo videos won't embeb into your email but the link above should take you to the video.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mixing Exercise 28

Exercise 28 - The complementary pair, red and green, with orange-red and blue-green. Cadmium Scarlet, Winsor Lemon, and Cerulean Blue.

Something that seems to have fallen by the wayside in this scan is the wonderful granulation that Cerulean Blue brings to these mixes. In fact, the mixed pigments in wash on my palette needed constant stirring up. Other qualities come to mind--transparency to opaqueness and staining ability, properties that I've rather disregarded in these exercise posts, although have had some awareness in my exercises.

My cadmiums and the cerulean offer great covering ability--highly opaque. The Winsor Lemon, Ultramarine, and Permanent Rose are transparent pigments. Opaques are noted for some ability to perform as transparents when used in light washes or glazes.

Robin Chicks

A quick check early Saturday morning showed three chicks. After wrapping up my chores, I got set up on the deck with a tripod in early afternoon. That last egg still hadn't hatched. But, do notice the holes and cracked surface (click image for a larger view). Let's hope number four makes its way out!

I've lost track of time... The last time I checked we had four eggs. Was that Friday evening? Or Wednesday? Ah well... No matter... Little ones still too young to raise their heads. See the little feet pushing and the tiny wings trying to beat. I wonder if they are dreaming of flying?

Here's a Vimeo version of the same movie. It allows for an expanded view.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mixing Exercise 27

Exercise 27 - The complementary pair, red and green, with violet-red and mixed green. Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon, and Cerulean Blue.

Wow, what beautiful mixes! I just love these center colors. I've been altering my mixes. Instead of simply watering down the mix each time for each square, I'm washing in a few at a time and glazing over to grade them out. It makes things a bit easier to control but I must remember to wait until a square is quite dry before trying to glaze. Otherwise, I might be likely to lift the pigments rather than apply more.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mixing Exercise 26

Exercise 26 - The complementary pair, red and green, with orange-red and mixed green. Cadmium Scarlet, Winsor Lemon, and Cerulean Blue.