Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The White Test--After 8 Years...

Back in 2004, I was part of an online art discussion group called GoodArt. Virgil Elliott was the moderator, and he was then working on his book, Traditional Oil Painting, Advanced Techniques and Concepts from the Renaissance to the Present. He talked about how white was such an important color on an artist's palette, because we mix it with virtually every other color, and its properties affect the whole painting. This inspired me to test some whites.
I recently discovered that another artist, Jonathan Linton also tested whites and his results were almost the same as mine! The problem, as far as yellowing goes, seems to be the oil used. Linseed oil dries faster than the other commonly used oils, but it also yellows more. And if it is combined with a more transparent white pigment, like zinc or lead, the yellowing is even more apparent!


Gamblin (Artist Oil Colors)
  Quick Dry White
  Zinc White (Linseed)
  Titanium White (Linseed)
  Titanium-Zinc White (Linseed) I have a new tube of this color, and it is now made with safflower oil.
  Radiant White (Poppyseed) Gamblin now uses safflower oil for this one.
Le Franc (Artists Oil Color)
  Titanium White (Soybean)
Rembrandt (Artists' Quality)
  Zinc White (Safflower)
  Mixed White (Safflower)
  Titanium White (Safflower)
Utrecht (Artists' Colors)
  Titanium White (Linseed and Safflower)
Grumbacher (Pre-Tested Artists' Oil Colors)
  Soft Titanium White (Poppyseed and Sunflower)
Vasari (Classic Artists' Oil Color)
  Titanium White (Linseed)
  Flake White (Linseed)
M. Graham (Artists' Oil Color)
  Titanium White (Walnut)
Blockx (Artist Oil Colors)
  Titanium White (Poppyseed)
Permalba (Artist Oil Color)
  Original White
Winsor & Newton (Artists' Oil Color)
    Flake White #1 (Safflower)
Winsor & Newton (Griffin Alkyd)
  Titanium White
Winsor & Newton (Winton Oil Color)
  Soft Mixing White (Safflower)
  Flake White (Safflower)
Art Spectrum (Artists' Oil Color)
  Titanium White #2 (Safflower)
Holbein (Extra Fine Artists' Oil Colors)
  Silver White
  Ceramic White (Poppy)
Daler-Rowney Georgian
  Mixing White

The Results

Still bright white!
  Le Franc Titanium
  Rembrandt Titanium, Mixed, And Zinc Whites (this was the only zinc white that stayed bright)
  Utrecht Titanium
  Permalba Original
  Blockx Titanium
  Holbein Ceramic
  Art Spectrum Titanium #2

Kinda soft white:  still acceptable
  Winsor & Newton Flake #1
  Winton Flake and Soft Mixing White
  Winsor & Newton Griffin Alkyd Titanium White
  Holbein Silver White
  Gamblin Titanium, Titanium-Zinc
  Grumbacher Soft Formula

Not acceptable, sorry guys...
  Daler-Rowney Georgian Mixing White
  Gamblin Quick Dry
  Gamblin Zinc White
  Gamblin Radiant White
  Vasari Titanium White
  Vasari Flake White
  This is supposed to be white? It looked even worse when I first took it out of the dark. All colors were allowed to bleach in the light for a month before I photographed them.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Plein Air--Going Back

Cariquinez Bridge (final version)
I think I should tell you that even though this painting is done plein air, I actually went back to the same site on three different days to complete it. And each day, the previous day's work was dry. That is how I was able to put in those fine lines of the bridges and towers. By this time, walkers were saying, "Back again?" as they went by. The wind was so strong, that by the second day I didn't even try to use an umbrella or easel. I sat on a rock and held the painting in my hands.

I had thought the painting needed some life, and luckily, here it came! A ship painted faded red was moving under the bridge. It was accompanied by two motorboats, one on each side, with another boat behind, but I only put in one of the motorboats. Now we have more interest!

This painting is now hanging in Epperson Gallery in Crockett, CA, along with another one that also took three days to complete. I'll show the other one next time! Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Color Vision

Cariquinez Bridge - 8 x 10" oil on linen - plein air painting by Linda Schweitzer
For years, I have known that, in theory, the larger the pupils of your eyes, the more color you can see. Because of this, I sometimes wear a visor, even when painting in the studio. But I say "sometimes" because I've never really noticed if it made any difference.
Well, this is the painting from my last post. It was done plein air, meaning outdoors, from life. As I was walking towards the water, I saw that it was a lifeless blue-gray color, and I was a little disappointed. But I set up the easel, and the umbrella. By the time I was ready to paint, the water appeared a beautiful aqua! I thought, "Good, the light has changed!" And I proceeded to paint, but could hardly believe the color, and kept checking my mixtures against what I saw.
When I finished, I packed up my stuff and started back up the hill. Looking back at the water, it was that blue-gray again!
Now, if you look at the photo on my last post, you can see I was in a pretty deep shade under that umbrella. It is a Best-Brella, which is silver on the outside and black on the inside. And I was wearing a broad brimmed hat. With all that shade, my pupils were probably quite wide even though the sun was full blast. I know some artists say a white umbrella is enough, because it gives a filtered light which is more gentle, and your colors will be more accurate. What do you think?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Crockett Paintout

I spent this morning painting plein air, as part of the Crockett Paintout. This is my view of the Carquinez Bridge, from the Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline Park.  Here, I have completed the underpainting, to establish the basic composition and value pattern.

It was horribly windy, and I had to keep holding the easel to keep it from blowing over. Several times the umbrella "released" and just fell over (which is what it does, I guess to keep the easel from going over).

People kept walking by and saying nice things about the painting, and of course, I invited them all to the exhibit, which is next Sunday. Each artist may show three paintings.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Packing a painting

Deepening Shadows in box
Today, I packed my latest sold painting for shipment. I always save the boxes that frames are shipped in when they come to me, because they are so great for shipping the paintings. And, the frame companies charge for boxing, so I have paid for the box. Don't know if you can see this, but the painting is being double boxed, with padding all around it. Isn't the new owner getting a beautiful work?

with postcard
Actually, I had postcards printed of this image. See how dreary the postcard looks compared to the original painting! Original art rocks!