"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Monday, June 24, 2019

All mixed up--Learning the hard way with oil

When you paint, you mix colors. I learned that in watercolor long ago--a few colors give you a varied spectrum.
But undertaking--or trying to undertake--oils has been learning the hard way all over again. At the recent oil painting workshop at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, landscape artist G. Russell Case told us he'd prefer to have us spend most of our time just mixing paint.
After today, trying to take the next steps in an 8 x 10 painting of the church of St. Francis in Ranchos de Taos, N. M.,  I wish he had done it.
Last week I managed to sketch in the outline of the building. Piece of cake--red oxide faintly applied. 
Today, I undertook the next phases. Color triad for harmony in mixing and results: Red-Orange, Blue Green, Red.
1. Start with the darkest. Done. Junipers.
2. Move to the next darkest.
I was pleased with one part of the process today--painting the low wall in the foreground. The shadow by the door was too dark.
3. Since then, darker to lighter and scrumbling a rough in the sky to get rid of the whites, I ended up a little pleased, but seeing all kinds of problems for later corrections.
4. The further I went, missing colors, trying to get the light right, the more eventual adjustments I saw. Translated--I was making too many brush strokes, and the near wall is way too dark.
5. Now the paint is wet, so it must dry as I nurse my frustration, and think about it.
6. All mixed up indeed. Learned--new respect for my artist Dad, Terrence Miller Clark, and his talent in oil painting.
7. More paint to mix--later this week.

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