Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Daniel Smith Watercolors and Palette Thoughts

New paints are so much fun! I got a bunch of colors from Daniel Smith last week --- some transparent yellows, as well as earthy reds and maroons. I also had to try their Blue Apatite and Moonglow, and Serpentine while I was at it!

I did some swatches and color comparision tests, and tried a few mixes, thinking about what might be effective for some new palette ideas I have.

I pulled out Craig Nelson's book, 60 Minutes to Better Painting. He has so many great ideas in there, and some interesting palettes too. I was admiring his analogous palette paintings and decided to put together a few analogous palettes to try out. I had some extra kids' watercolor sets that I'd popped the pigments out of. These tiny palettes are wonderful for trying new colors and ideas. I set three of them up as analogous palettes --- one red, one yellow, and one blue. That means that the entire painting should have that color in it, so for example, the blue analogous palette would have blue, a blue-green, a yellow-green, a bluish violet, and a reddish violet. The complement is used only to dull the colors, so although there would be an orange in the blue palette, it would be only for mixing purposes. Here are the three palettes and some test swatches I did:

The next day, I went to Adams Fairacre Farms in Wappinger NY. I decided to test drive the blue analogous palette in the greenhouse.

In the end, I couldn't resist adding the yellow flower centers, and I realized that an analogous palette is probably not the best choice for a flower garden or greenhouse! When I got home, I wanted to try it again, so I set up a still life and did a quick color study.

I'm afraid that for me, the jury is still out on this. Maybe I'm just not fond of all those cool colors, or maybe I like the pop of the complements too much for this limited approach. I haven't tried the red or yellow analogous palettes yet, but plan to do so soon. In the meantime, I'm going to let the color junkie in me have a little fun with some full color!

Note: The sketches above were done in a 5.5x8.5" Stillman and Birn Epsilon hardbound book. The color samples were done in an S&B Epsilon 8.5x11" hardbound book.

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