Monthly Archives: November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!
Here's a little sneak peek at what's on my drawing board.

Greenman rough drawing on tracing paper. I'm still working out the composition. When I get to a point where the composition is stable, I'll do a tight drawing on Canson Vellum.
Greenman rough drawing on tracing paper. I'm still working out the composition. When I get to a point where the composition is stable, I'll do a tight drawing on Canson Vellum.

This is the year! Every other year The Atelier puts on a show of work by students who have attended classes part time. Come celebrate the work and if you're unfamiliar with The Atelier, it's a great time to visit the school.

Save the dates:
Friday, December 5, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Saturday, December 6, 12:00 - 6:00 PM

If you are a former or current part time Atelier student, you are welcome to submit artwork. The Atelier requires that the artwork be framed and ready to hang with eye hooks or D-rings in back. You must also label the work on back with name, address, phone number and instructor's name. Artwork must be delivered to The Atelier no later than 10:00 PM Wednesday, December 3, 2014.

Artwork must have been produced in class with an Atelier instructor. No late entries. We will attempt to hang all artwork, but if there are too many entries for our walls, the teachers reserve the right to choose which artwork is shown. Work should be picked up immediately following the show.

Assistance setting up, tearing down, and treats for the show are always appreciated. If you have questions, feel free to contact your instructor or The Atelier. Or email me (cmitzuk (at) christinemitzuk.com) and I will try to point you in the right direction.

color mixing board and tools with raw umber
My Raw Umber color mixing board in progress. I'll be making a board for each color of the Paxton Palette.
The idea is have a dominant color for each board. When mixing, the goal is to change the main color just enough so you can tell what color was mixed with it, but not so much that you can't tell what the dominant color is anymore.
The glove is Nitrile not Latex. Nitrile is supposed to be better rated for dealing with solvents. I use odorless mineral spirits to clean up my palette and tools.
The completed board in the upper right is on loan from Cyd Wicker so I'd have a better idea of what these things might look like.

Several weeks back I posted a bit about mixing the Richard Schmid color boards. Here are a few more pointers.

  • Instead of using Matte Medium as surface prep for the canvas board, use Matte Varnish (I've been using Liquitex). Using the Matte Varnish was a recommendation from someone else. To see the difference for myself I coated one board with the Matte Medium and one with Matte Varnish. The varnish prevents sinking in much better than the Matte Medium. For this exercise I think it'll be just fine but I don't recommend laying down coat of varnish for an oil painting.
  • I'm working left to right because I'm right handed. I suspect if you're left handed, working right to left would be easier (less opportunity to drag your hand through paint).
  • I broke a palette knife. The smallish diamond shaped one at the bottom of this photo. I was applying too much pressure through my arm to incorporate the paint. The longer palette knife is working much better. The flexibility of the blade does most of the work of mixing. I still use a smallish diamond shaped palette knife to apply the mixtures to the squares.
The lower, small diamond palette knife is a 1001 from Utrecht. The longer palette knife is a 897 from Richeson. This is what I had access to when shopping. They seem to work pretty well. I have no idea where or when I bought the Richeson knife. I've had it for a while.
The lower, small diamond palette knife is a 1001 from Utrecht. The longer palette knife is a 897 from Richeson. This is what I had access to when shopping. They seem to work pretty well. I have no idea where or when I bought the Richeson knife. I've had it for a while.
  • Much less paint is needed than you think, but that varies slightly from paint to paint. Some have MUCH stronger pigment strength than others.
  • When mixing, first mix the two colors. Next test a tiny little bit with some white to see if the balance of color looks good (if the parent color looks like it's affected by the added color but not overpowered). Then mix the in between values. Test a little of each on the board. Adjust as necessary. Ideally each value should seem like it could be an even mixture of its two neighboring values.
  • Always wipe down the mixing area with a bit of solvent in between mixing each strip of color/value.
  • Don't go for perfection. I've decided that I give myself 2 attempts at mixing the color and 7 values. Then I move on. If the color mix and values of a particular string of squares still doesn't look "right" when I'm done with the board, then I'll scrape that string off and try again. Sometimes having the other color/value strings mixed helps in determining the balance for the one that I was struggling with.
  • I end up with some excess paint every time (I'm hoping to better gauge the amount of paint I need as I go). I tried storing it in a container but there was too much air and the paint dried out. Now I'm storing the excess in a small resealable plastic snack bag (like Ziploc). I use the long palette knife to scrape down the palette and put it in the bag. So far it's all staying juicy. I'm hoping to have an interesting neutral when I'm done that I could use for value studies or something. We'll see.

My apologies. I've had jury duty for the past two weeks so my time has been limited. No lengthy blog post today. Instead, here's some new art!

This was recently published in Spellbound & Spindles, a fairy tale anthology published by Eggplant Literary Productions . It features stories retold with people of color, disabled and queer characters, as well as non-western European tales. Unfortunately this was their last publication.

digital painting of the boy who drew cats based on a Japanese tale published in Eggplant Publishing Spellboung and Spindles painted by christine mitzuk
The Boy Who Drew Cats