Oil Paint

New oil painting on the easel!  Here's a shot of the work in progress. I decided to play with the yellow color family with this one. I'm looking at the changing autumn leaves for some inspiration. 6"x6" oil on prepared board.

A progress shot of my latest dragon eye exploration.
A progress shot of my latest dragon eye exploration.

Next week I'll be at Gen Con, July 30 - August 2, 2015. I'll have originals and limited edition prints available. Bear Falls will be there. I'll also have my dragon eye drawings and paintings on display and available for purchase. I'm really pleased with how I designed the framing of the little paintings. Here's a preview:

by christine mitzuk mini oil paintings of dragon eyes framed
Approximately 2"x2" framed oil paintings. Frame size approximately 5.25"x5.25".

This will be my third year at Gen Con. I'll be at a table again in Artist Alley. If you're at the con, stop by and say hi!

Limited Edition prints of Bear Falls are now available in my Square Market Online Store. The image measures about 8.125" x 10.333". It's printed with Epson DuraBrite Ultra Ink on 8.5"x11", letter sized, Epson Premium Presentation Matte Paper. Shop now >>

Rushing wind. The calls of the birds hardly audible over the roaring falls.

oil painting of waterfalls with rock bear heads by christine mitzuk
Bear Falls

Here's a little peek at the oil painting of my Bear Cliffs project.

P.S. I'll be set up during Minneapolis Art-A-Whirl Friday - Sunday May 15 - 17. Details coming soon.

Bear Cliffs Oil Paint Progress Shot
Bear Cliffs Oil Paint Progress Shot

What could be better than roses that won't wilt? Give them to your sweetie or buy them for yourself to enjoy! These rich red roses are painted life size on an 8"x10" canvas panel. Yours for $150 + shipping (and tax if you're in MN).
Buy now through my Square Market page.

 

three red roses on black velvet background painted in oil paint by christine mitzuk
Half day study of red roses, painted in oil.

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It's not too late. Come join the fun!

Portrait and Interior Class

mitzuk_portrait_class_promo_72dpi_blog

 

Make your own magic! Learn to create beautiful portraits from classically trained professional artist Christine Mitzuk. Beginner and intermediate students welcome.

Spots still available! Sign up today for Christine’s Tuesday evening portrait class
at The Atelier, 7-9:30 pm. Started 1/20. 15 weeks. $230.

To register or ask questions contact Christine, or The Atelier at 612-362-8421.

Illustration

digital painting of the astrological sign Aries by christine mitzuk to be used in Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar
Aries

Let your imagination fly! Class starts this Thursday 1/21/15.

During this class, students will develop imaginative pieces based upon a story or individual ideas. We will move from idea generation to preparatory work and on to final art. Emphasis will be placed on composition, and storytelling. Students may choose to work in the medium with which they are comfortable. Christine has experience to support watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, or oil paint.

To register or ask questions contact Christine, or The Atelier at 612-362-8421.

 

Exploring Color: Color Theory and Color Mixing

Color Mixing Class - Paxton Palette ValuesExperience color hands-on through creating color boards and value scales. Using the colors of The Atelier’s Paxton Palette in oil paint, we will explore the attributes of color: hue, value, and chroma. Projects will be paced by order of completion and students will work at their own pace.

We’ll discuss the color wheel as it relates to painting with the Paxton Palette. Topics will also include mixing “mud”, Munsell and Gamblin color space, direct vs. indirect painting, color temperature, color harmony, color psychology, and a bit of color history. Plus we’ll demystify the information given on paint labels.

Please contact Christine (cmitzuk@gmail.com) for what to bring to the first class. Supply list given after you are registered.

Starting THURSDAY, Jan. 22, 4:15 - 6:45 PM
$210, 15 weeks. Scroll down for registration information.

This experiment isn't my idea. It's based off something Jeff Larson does during his still life painting workshop at The Atelier. I've been wanting to do this for a while. I watched him do something similar during the workshop demo but wasn't able to take the hands on portion of the workshop. So here's my attempt.

Paint is limited in how it can reproduce values. I wanted to explore values and how they need to be adjusted in a painting to create the illusion of value relationships as they are in nature.

I started with the shiny gold ball, then added the matte one, then the deep red one. The idea being that I would have to change the value relationships. What appeared dark on the lighter ball would no longer appear as dark when the darker red ball was added. So I had to adjust the values a bit to get the value relationships to mimic nature.

Holiday Ball Study Start in oil paint
Holiday Ball Study Start

I should have started with the matte finish ball since it doesn't reflect as much light as the glossy one. I would have painted the matte highlight as light as I could. Then if I added the glossy gold ball next, it would have forced me to change the highlight value even more than I did. Oh well. Next time. I did have to adjust the darks though as I added the darker ball. I still got quite a lot out of it: understanding value manipulation, and especially the enjoyment of slinging painting around.

Here's the finished study

Holiday balls oil paint study
Holiday Balls Study done in oil paint on cotton duck canvas.

Have a great new year!

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.

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.

Based off Richard Schmid's boards as he describes them in his book "Alla Prima Everything I Know About Painting", I'm creating color boards using the Paxton Palette. (We use the Paxton Palette at The Atelier).

  • Ivory Black
  • Raw Umber
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Indian Red
  • Light Red
  • Cadmium Red Light (this is a replacement for Vermillion)
  • Cremnitz White or Flake White which both contain lead (I'm using Winsor & Newton Flake White Hue - a combination of Zinc and Titanium)
  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Naples Yellow
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Viridian Green
  • Ultramarine Blue (I'm using French Ultramarine Blue)

The board itself is a store bought canvas board covered with a coat of matte medium (ideally to prevent sinking in and dulling of the color and value when the paint finally dries). I've had color theory classes. I've mixed paint. Just not it this methodical way. What I've learned so far:

  • Raw Umber is an underrated color. It makes such beautiful low chroma colors.
  • I've been limiting myself in my color mixing and usage. This was completely unintentional. I think the limitations developed though getting comfortable with certain mixes and my own aesthetic. This color mixing is shaking that up.
  • Each color has a tipping point. It's that point where I finally have added enough white to see a difference. Or that point where I've added enough of one color to alter another.
  • The more I do, the faster I get. I'm hoping this is because I'm seeing values better.
  • The mixing exercises can be time consuming but very much worth the effort.

pencil sketch on vellum by christine mitzuk
Larger sketch. Pencil on vellum.

Sea Daydream: Process Part 3
Paint!

Last week I shared the evolution of the sketch for this piece in Process Part 2. Or start from the beginning and check out Process Part 1. This week we're moving on to the paint phase.

sea daydream watercolor value studies by christine mitzuk
Sea Daydream Value Studies.

I usually do some value studies for anything I make. This time I scanned the drawing and printed it 4-up on 8.5"x11" paper. Watercolors were my first love and I like their immediacy and ease of use so I decided to use them for the studies.

I also printed a copy of the 4-up sketch for some color studies. Following that whole infatuation with the media thing, I used watercolor for these too.

 

 

 

sea daydream watercolor color studies on paper by christine mitzuk
Watercolor color studies on letter size inkjet paper.

I was having fun. I fell in love with the luminosity of the studies. The transparency of watercolor give a great luminosity to the studies. Unfortunately, it made translating the color values from watercolor to the more opaque oil paint tricky.

Next time I'm going to try gouache value and color studies. I'll have my immediacy, and easy clean up that I like with watercolor (gouache being water soluble) and it'll be opaque. I'm hoping I'll have a closer representation of the final painting direction so will have an easier time translating it to oil paint. I'll also use a more permanent substrate than printer paper. That way if I have an awesome study, it'll be a mini painting for sale.

sea daydream early oil painting stage by christine mitzuk
An early stage in the oil painting. Here the sky and waves are light in value and the sand dollar is bleached.

The initial idea was to have the sky and hair meld, leaving the sky a lighter value. This wasn't working. The sky was too distracting. My trusty critique people agreed.

I needed to find a solution but was afraid to mess up the painting. Experimenting digitally was an option. I tried a little of that but was running into some odd roadblocks. Using paint was easier at that point.

sea daydream painting experiments and adjustments on acetate
Painting experiments on acetate. A chance to try it before I commit to changes.

Then I remembered something I learned in school: acetate. I taped a sheet of acetate over the painting and painted on that. What a great feeling to skate the paint around! And for some reason it was easier to think through the paint. I liked what came of my experimenting and moved forward with the darker sky and sea. (Note: I think the "acetate" is from Dura-lar. I believe it's .003". It might be the acetate alternative.)

 

 

oil painting of a woman holding a sand dollar and staring dreamily into the distance, perhaps she's a mermaid, by christine mitzuk
A personal piece, Sea Daydream.

I showed it to another artist buddy and he suggested that the sand dollar was difficult to see. It was the same color as her skin. My attempt at a sun bleached sand dollar wasn't reading well visually. So I went back to my reference of sand dollars and discovered that the live ones have lovely colors. Okay. Purple it is. Then I had to find other places to use the purple.

And magically it was done.

Okay not really. There was a lot of painting and refining shapes, values and edges in there too.

It took longer than I initially wanted but I'm glad I spent the time it took. It was incredibly valuable to work through the painting, all the composition issues, and I discovered some things I can apply to the next project.

If you're wondering, the painting is for sale. I also have limited edition prints available (printed on letter sized premium Epson paper). They aren't up in my shop yet so if you're interested, drop me a line.