Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Painting Light and Shade

Painting Light and Shade by Patricia Seligman (also the author of The Illuminated Alphabet) came in today. Brand new for only ten bucks! I've not had much time tonight to poke around in it so after a quick scan, I thought I'd try this out. London by Doug Lew. Well, it's kinda scary (ha ha!) but I did learn that there are times when it pays to work from a distance. It wasn't until I decided enough was enough that I had pulled back for the larger picture.

This is another of those limited palette exercises. French Ultramarine with a touch of Permanent Rose. Cad Yellow. I had a really hard time with wetness. Either too much water or not enough. Paper buckling like crazy. I don't know if I'm overdoing the water or if that's okay but my Fabriano pads can't take it. The buckling doesn't leave when the pad dries. So, it's either control the water better or it's time to start stretching.


  1. What works for me in this is that the light reflection does look very bright -- the white centre strip contrasts with the pale violets everywhere else to create a sense of brilliance.

  2. At the risk of depleting your bank account, there IS a wonderful book about the history of color and pigment that both you and Katharine might find as fascinating as I have.
    "Color; A Natural History of the Palette" by Victoria Finaly will take you on a trip around the world as you discover the origins of the paints we use today. It's a great read and well worth your time (and dare I say it... money!)
    Also of interest but hard to find are these two wonderful titles:
    "Colors- The Story of Dyes and Pigments'' by Francois Delamare and Bernard Guineau (Discoveries Series, Harry N. Abrams)
    "Watercolor, a visual History" by Michael Clarke (Eyewitness Art, DK/DorlingKindersley
    If you go onto Amazon and click to "look inside" , make sure you scroll all the way to down to see all the pages!
    These last two are feasts for the eye, chock full of gorgeous graphics and photos of antiquities all relating to the rich history of color and pigment.
    I think your watercolor today conveys a beautiful sense of atmosphere; and as far as the buckling, I find it helps to weight down the painting as it dries over night with a large heavy book. Just remember to put a separating sheet of paper between your painting and the book/weight. I use a crinkled piece of waxed paper as it won't stick and the minute crinkling helps air flow; it's a tip I learned in my botanical seaweed pressing workshop and works alike a charm!

  3. I was so attracted to that kind of light, Katharine. I'm running across wonderful techniques to portray illumination--execution thereof is limping along. Practice... :-)

  4. Gretchen! Thank you! :-)

    Luckily, I already own Finaly's book. It was lost on my Kindle until you jogged my memory. I'll check out the others.

    Also, a while back Val recommended Bright earth: art and the invention of color By Philip Ball.
    It's also out on Google Books.

    Thanks for the weighting tip! I'll definitely be trying that out. At this point, I do enjoy the convenience of blocks, although I suspect I'll be moving on in time. I'd like to try some 300 lb.

  5. Mmmmmmmmmm thank you Gretchen and thank you John for wonderful book recommendations. I will prowl through the second-hand sections but it will be well worth investing in some of those titles.

    Ralph Mayer is our usual standby (The Artists Handbook) but I really do fancy something specific to pigment.