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Monday, March 12, 2007

Studio painting

"Reflected Light" oil on canvas 20x40"

The weather over the weekend was marvelous. I did a lot of weed pulling in the garden, and planted some sugar snap peas, purple potatoes, and a mix of lettuces from several old seed packets. I did some paintings of orchards in bloom as well, but they have to dry a bit before I can photograph them to share. In the meantime, I spent much of last week working in the studio on this large painting of the hay barn at Pierce Point Ranch. Regular readers will recognize the building - this is similar to a smaller painting I did on location. I really like the dynamic of the two buildings and the way the light is reflected from the small building onto the barn.

I spent a long time trying to get the blue of the shadows right. I work with a fairly limited palette, with no blacks or greens, just a warm and a cool version of the primary colors, and white. (For the artists: lemon yellow, cad yellow, permanent alizarin, cad red, ultramarine blue and cobalt blue) But I keep playing around with different blues, and I've been using indigo blue from Sennelier (similar to prussian blue but mixes lovely greens and blacks) and sometimes I toss in some phthalo blue for the sky. I use the same colors when I paint outside, and set out the colors in the same order on my palette. That way, I don't have to think very hard when I'm mixing, my hand just goes to the right location. At the end of the painting session, I take all the leftover piles of mixed paint and mash them together. The result is a pile of really nice gray that I set aside for the next round.


At 8:45 AM, Blogger Jana Bouc said...

This is so beautiful. I really like the colors in the light and shade. Thanks for writing about your palette. I'm struggling so much with color in oils and acrylics and I think maybe I need to go back to a limited palette like yours. I'm used to working in layers in watercolor until I get the right color and in oils it seems like you have to get it right straight away or you get mud.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Kris Shanks said...

I know what you mean about making mud, Jana. It's true that if you get a lot of paint on your surface, it's easy to mix into it with every successive brush stroke. The key for me is to work very thin at first, and have a clear idea of where I want the colors to go, and then it's all about adjusting the colors and edges.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Felicia said...

If I don't get out to my yard soon the warm weather will have the weeds up to my knees. Your painting is lovely.

At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Greta Christina said...

This is really beautiful, Kris. I love the complicated mood -- the straight-up cheerfulness of the blue sky, and the slight melancholy of the shadows. Neat.


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