Monday, October 11, 2010

The Stuff Arrived!

A big box of stuff! I wasted no time degreasing a gesso board and cracking an egg. The board looked great, so white, so smooth. And then I began to notice the pin holes. This image is a bit over lifesize but not by much. The photo surprised me--I hadn't noticed so many holes. I really wanted to paint and really didn't want to mix gesso so just went ahead and painted. After all, I thought, it would be good to know what painting pinholes looks like.

Using aqueous dispersions of black, white, yellow, and red, I tried a limited palette. No color mixing here, just layer over layer. It was very good brush practice--don't load the brush, lift off when the stroke ends, wait until dry (about five seconds) before the next coat...

I expected greater color range with the black but really like the yellow into red with rich luminosity. There's a bit of black about the circumference and a little white in the center.


  1. There is a rich furriness in those brushstrokes which is so organically textural it produces a sensation to look at it and takes it from being a 'colour mixing exercise' to being a very pleasing aesthetic object in its own right.

    Your black does look weaker than your red and yellow by quite a way ... earth colours notoriously intense. Were you mixing equal quantities of paint at the halfway point? What's the black pigment that you're using again? Lamp black, bone black? If it's a warm black to start with, perhaps that's why it looks as though the red has swallowed it. A bluer black might give a bigger range of maroons/browns.

    Isn't it gorgeous where the lighter colours in the yellow overlay the darker? I can't get over the delicious furry quality. Nice smokey blued effect where the white sits over the black, too.

    Hope you are pleased with this. It's lovely to look at. I've dug out an old tube of white pre-mixed tempera I bought some time ago and am going to have a go at mixing a little watercolour into it to see how the texture and handling differ from gouache. Not a method for the purist, by any means, but I'm hoping it will inspire me to go the whole hog!

    Eager (as always) to see what happens next on your inspirational blog.

  2. Just realised that you did say 'no colour mixing here' ... so how did you work out your balances, and is it just that the black hasn't got the same coating power as the red and yellow?

    Sorry for all these questions. It's fascinating to see the relationship between technique/practicalities on the one hand and result on the other.

  3. Never having tried tempera, I can only "watch from the sidelines" vs. joining in the fun here, but I am having a great time as a spectator!
    Katharine beat me to it with her comment describing this color wheel as having a 'rich furriness' as the first thought that came to my mind when I saw this was a macro view of a fox's fur;
    I too, am excited to see what's coming next!
    ~ gretchen

  4. Oh Katharine, your lovely questions often either intuit or inspire my upcoming posts. Tonight's post, once I shed today's stresses of the workday, will speak directly to your queries.

    From time to time, I hear that a post inspires one to action. There is no greater pleasure for me than to hear this. Very cool.

  5. Jump in anytime, Gretchen. Your comments and questions also fuel my drive and direction.

    The furry technique was of course quite accidental but that's how we learn best, right?