Oil study – Lime Wedges and Backgrounds

Oil study for Threads

Well this was fun. I learned a lot here. The subject was a lime wedge against different colored backgrounds. In the end I used pretty much the same colors for the wedge itself but the background (obviously) and the foreground and reflection changed color. In particular that reflection, even though it looks yellow/orange is in real life a pure grey. Who’d have thought? In hindsight I should have known as a yellow reflection on a gray background will result in a neutral gray!

Here’s a closeup of the result

Lime wedge oil study

Limited Palette – Final(ish) Results

Two limited palette studies. The left hand one is with quin magenta, cadmium yellow, cobalt teal. The right hand one is with naphthol red, cadmium lemon and winsor blue (green shade). Really surprised how close the colors are between the two sets.

This one is with the Zorn palette of cadmium red (actually naphthol), yellow ochre and black. Lovely muted colors and really surprised how blue that pot looks with only ivory black and white.

Vase and Pot Finished – Paul Foxton’s Threads Workshop

Vase and Cup from Paul Foxton’s Threads group

Yesterday was session two in Paul Foxton’s Threads workshop. I should put a word in for this if you want to learn the ins and outs of color and value. He’s a great teacher and each session is enormous fun. I’ve learned a lot and had a great time doing it. And all for $20 a month!

I’ll probably refine this a little more tomorrow. That handle is annoying me. Here it is next to the photo reference.

Actually I don’t think I posted the previous intermediates. Here they are.

The Gurney Sketch Easel is Complete!

James Gurney style sketch easel
James Gurney style sketch easel

The Gurney sketch easel is complete!!! Painting has taken a little bit of a back seat this week as I finally decided to make a James Gurney style lightweight sketch easel. He has a fantastic video showing you the details and many more details on his blog

Art Materials For Lightweight Sketching

The materials didn’t cost very much themselves. The wood was $15 and I have enough to make 4 more easels if I want to :-). The hinges were $10 and the little nalgene 2oz water jar was $6. Small neodymium magnets hold the water pot and the palettes to the easel. They cost around $10 and I have plenty left over. The easel fixes to the tripod using a t-nut and quick release plate which cost around $12.

My biggest purchase was the set of travel brushes that sit handily over the sketchbook for easy access. This was $40 but I suspect will get a lot of use.

Here are all the art tools laid out on the finished easel. The little paint palette is an ancient Daler Rowney watercolor palette with teeny quarter size pans. It’s highly portable and fine for outside sketching. The sketchbook is a pentalic sketchbook in the larger size. The smaller 5×8.5 version fits on more neatly.

Gurney sketch easel tin palette
Gurney sketch easel tin palette

Tools Needed to Make the Easel

I did spend a fair bit more on tools to construct the easel. I needed special forstner drill bits for the magnets and a spade bit to recess the t-nut for the tripod. Then there was glue, some clamps, epoxy putty for the hinges, screws, and oil for wood finishing (I found wood stain in the garage). I suspect after some use I’ll be making another one. Maybe I’ll try one a little bigger but who knows.

An Easel Shot with Sketch!

Here it is with a shallow tin as a palette which I’ve sprayed with white enamel paint. Good for gouache I think. This also shows the smaller Pentalic sketchbook which is still big enough for fairly detailed sketches.

Gurney sketch easel ready for action
Gurney sketch easel ready for action

Some Action Shots of the Easel

Here are some more shots! Can you tell I’m really pleased with myself? For its size and weight it really is a useful little thing. Can’t wait to try it out in earnest. Many, many thanks to James Gurney and all the wonderful helpful people on the facebook sketch-easel group


Still Life Photos

still life photo setup
Still life photo setp

Online classes are starting soon and I’m in need of some still life photos. I use these mainly for color matching and mixing exercises and need some good, clear still life references. Out with the trusty tripod and LUMIX ZS50, some coroplast board and assorted fruits.

White backgrounds are good for watercolor exercises

Fruit still life with white background
Fruit still life with white background

I like to have bright and light photos for my still life classes. The classes are great for practicing color identification and mixing and the fruit shapes are simple enough for beginners to tackle. These setups are intentionally a little, dare I say it, dull. They’re not meant to result in paintings you’d hang on your wall but a means of practicing skills that will pay off in your real paintings. An example video from my youtube channel showing how I approach these kinds of setups is linked below

White wooden blocks are great for practicing values

white block value study reference
White block value study reference

While I had the photography gear out I took some photos of my white wooden blocks and colored spheres. The blocks are great for practicing painting values and the spheres for modeling form correctly. They seem simple but they’re not.

You can get a selection of blocks from Amazon. I get plain wood ones and simply paint them white with some acrylic paint.

Colored spheres are good for color exercises and modeling form

polystyrene colored spheres for color exercises
Polystyrene colored spheres for color exercises

These are 3 inch styrofoam balls which I’ve also painted using acrylic. They’re not perfect – the bobbly surface disrupts the smooth change in value so I might invest in some wooden ones. Good enough for now though. (Update: the wooden ones are much better). As well as white it’s useful to paint the same shaped block or sphere with different values. These are good for modelling form through value. Hat tip to Paul Foxton for the idea.