Still life study of red onions #2

still life study of red onions Mar-5-2019

Study topics

Painting from life; 4-value plan; using synthetic bristle brushes on smooth panel

Process notes

Sketched 4-value plan of dark, dark middle, light middle, and light. Set up palette with 4 divisions and a small blob of grey at the top of each section to represent dark (dark grey), dark middle (Gamblin Portland Grey Deep), light middle (Gamblin Portland Grey Medium), and light (Gamblin Portland Grey Light).

Roughed in subject with thinned paint in a yellow ochre color on a Silver Brush Bristlon brush. Blocked in colors, moving from dark to light. Once it was blocked in, I refined the shapes and colors using a couple of Rosemary Ivory brushes.

Palette: viridian, ultramarine blue, permanent alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow light hue, titanium white, ivory black, Portland Grey Deep/Medium/Light

Panel: masonite prepped with a few coats of acrylic gesso, sanded smooth after each coat

What I learned

I can’t believe how different it feels to use the synthetic bristle brushes on a smooth panel. Mostly what I’ve been using for the last several months is hog bristles on either gessoed poster board or canvas. The issues I had yesterday might not have been about the cardboard panel after all because I had similar issues with the paint feeling tacky. It could be the brushes or the Gamsol I used. This combo will definitely require some practice to get comfortable!

Being methodical about separating the values on my palette seemed to help with color mixing. I read about this technique in an interview with Jill Carver. Apparently it’s something artist Harvey Dunn taught to his students. This, combined with a clear value plan and the grey paints in 4 values, worked pretty well and I’d like to do more of this.

For my next study topic I want to explore this still life subject with a 3-value plan like I did back in August. At that time I used photo references, and I want to see what it’s like to do it when painting from life.