Thursday, 16 August 2012

How Green is my Valley?

For a variety of reasons this has been a bad year for oils. All of the usual excuses apply, time, commitments and the rest. So I was sat musing the other day and thought I'd be just as well trying some sort of activity when I posed myself the question, 'How good are your greens?' Like lots of other artists I'm no great shakes when it comes to mixing greens, so having decided to try and improve my foliage I then asked myself, 'What to paint?'

I had also been thinking earlier in the day that it would be pleasant to return to Tuscany as it's a few years since I'd been there. One of the glories there is the range of greens, particularly in the spring. So I dug out a sketch book from my last trip there and lighted upon some sketches made around the area of Badia a Passignana. In passing, this demonstrated the importance of making sketches and holding on to them, they make the most wonderful source material.

My next task was to mix up a range of greens and as a base I took the advice I found on a YouTube video by Marc Dalessio. He talked of making greens with French Ultramarine, Cerulean Blue, Cadmium Yellow and Yellow Ochre. Each blue/yellow mix has its own distinctive hue and can be varied by proportions, addition of white or complementary red. Once the mixtures were made it was just a case of making the sketch and selecting which was appropriate and where.

This was not meant to be an attempt at a finished work but more as an exercise to mix colour and reacquaint myself with the feel of the hog brushes and the slippery oils. An enjoyable session.


Badia a Passignana - Oil on canvas board 12" x 10"

10 comments:

L.W.Roth, said...

I think you did a good job Mick. I'll be playing color mixing myself next week, but I'm starting with the primaries. This workshop woman says three primaries and white is all you need. I'm test it; the greens--these greens that you've done so well--will be maybe impossible? Thank you for your support these last days. Sorry if I've been neglectful. I'm a little older body-wise than I thought.

Caroline Simmill said...

Hi Mick I was also mixing up colours for my oil painting recently and it is amazing how many lovely shades of green you can get. It looks like you have been successful in your painting with the variety of greens there. Very nice painting Mick.

Mick Carney said...

Linda - Once again thanks. The limited palette notion has a lot of fans around the net and there are some really interesting ones. I'm finding that I have a hard core of colours and that most of my painting is done with them. The most interesting one I saw recently was posted by a friend of mine who paints in Maine, Dan Corey. It consists of Quinacridone Red/Pink, Cadmium Yellow and Prussian BLue. He then posted a colour chart of the range of colours he can make with them, convincing earth colours amongst them. You can find him at 'Life from Paint'.

Mick Carney said...

Caroline - Thanks. There's a way to go but I've developed a little more confidence with the green palette and have clear ideas about making it more extensive.

Ray Maclachlan said...

Nice greens, Mick. Not sure how they translate to oils. Most of our greens here are of the very greyed variety.

Nora MacPhail said...

Looks good Mick. Greens are such a struggle. And thanks for the introduction to a new artist, Marc Dalessio, I'll check him out.
Happy Painting.

Mick Carney said...

Ray - They are in fact oils and it would be interesting to see if the same mixes work in watercolour.

Mick Carney said...

Nora - Thanks and lots of appreciation for your support.

RH Carpenter said...

I think the play of the cooler greens against the warmer greens works well in this one, Mick. And yes, greens are not easy for me (I saw a bumper sticker once that said, "I am not afraid of greens." I knew the driver was an artist :)) Keep exploring and working towards your own perfection!

Mick Carney said...

Rhonda - Thank you, this was one of those times I remembered to think about a balance of warm and cool and it turns out to be a lesson well learned. Hope I can keep it in mind.