Saturday, December 29, 2012

How to Paint Snow With White Oil Paint

Is Snow White?

Snow has relatively less pigment than its surroundings.  It is rarely pure white, though.  If you use pure white paint you will get an unbelievable big white blob. 

This effect can be useful if the painting has a planned surreal quality.  An example is seen in Kawai Gyokudo's 1955 color on paper scroll, Snowfall

Haystacks: Snow Effect,
 Claude Monet, 1891
oil on canvas 

Colors to Use to Paint Snow

Painting snow is painting the light. The light is reflected off of surrounding forms, landscape and sky.  For a cohesive painting, incorporate pigments from these surroundings.

Artists use pigments of the same or similar value to add variety and interest to snow.   This is seen in Monet's Haystacks: Snow Effect where he uses complements blue and orange effectively.

How to Paint Snow

Avoid painting an amorphous blob.
  • Use another pigment to tint the white
  • Use similar values (different pigments)
  • Intersperse brushstrokes to create snow
  • Keep brushstrokes crisp 
  • Do not over mix the brushstrokes- you will end up with a muddy blob, if you do. 
  • Caution: Black can give you dirty snow if you are not careful. Use black to knock down another pigment a notch, that is, extremely sparingly in a mixture.
Landscape artist, Stapleton Kearns, does not change his palette for winter painting,  but "whips up" his white.  He talks about that here: winter painting.  

Study Brushstrokes

Look at other painters original artwork in person as much as possible.
I wrote about an online brushstroke resource here: Best Brushstroke.
David Carmack Lewis' blog features several artist's rendition of snow here: The Art Out There: Winter.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Albatross About My Neck...

Poetry as Inspiration

Current painting is inspired by the idea of having an albatross around your neck.  This narrative work is from the series about marriage.

Unwelcome Guest- oil painting by julie susanne
Unwelcome Guest
julie susanne 2012
oil on canvas

"Instead of the cross, the Albatross about my neck was hung."
is from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 1798 poem, Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

Albatross Allusion Explained (Wikipedia)

Please post your suggestion or remark by clicking 'comments' below.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Best Brushstroke

The Starry Night (detail)(7x), van Gogh, 1889
Maximum zoom on
The Brushstroke is an artist's "signature."
The best brush stroke is the one unique to each artist.

Excellent Brushstroke Resource

An excellent brush stroke resource is The Google Art Project. Here you can study brushstrokes of works from collections around the world. There are 184 collections and counting. That is over 36,000 artworks from thousands of artists.  Collections from 40 countries are represented.
The Starry Night (detail)(6x), van Gogh, 1889

Zoom in on Individual Brushmarks

Amazingly, you can click repeatedly on an individual work and zoom it in without resolution loss!

The Starry Night (detail) (3x), van Gogh, 1889

The Starry Night, van Gogh, 1889

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Utrecht Art Supply Coupon Codes

Utrecht Coupon Codes

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Monday, December 10, 2012

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fattest White Paint For Scumbling

Final Paint Layers
The top most layers of an oil painting should be the fattest of all and dry the most slowly. That is the paint should contain the most oil and least amount of dryers. When it comes to white paint, zinc white dries the most slowly, followed by titanium white and then lead white.

Scumbling White 
White Oil Paint Tinting Strength
Since zinc white is the slowest drying white it will increase the drying time of paints it is mixed with.  For scumbling with a mixture, zinc white works well to make a subtle hue without greatly lessening the chroma.

If more hiding or covering is desired, then mixing in a bit of titanium white with the zinc white will help. The more titanium white that is mixed in the more the chroma and brightness will be knocked down as well- so keep this in mind. If one prefers to use titanium white on the scumbling, simply ensure that the previous layer is dry in order to prevent cracking.

Drying Times of White Paint
Lead White Fastest
Lead White + Titanium Fast
Titanium White Moderate
Titanium + Zinc Slow
Zinc White Slowest

Premixed white paint mixtures are available. White paint ingredients by brand vary significantly. Since safflower oil is said to yellow less, lately I've been using it with the whites as a medium rather than linseed oil. Experiment and find your favorite technique; and to prevent cracking just remember Fat over Lean.

Please contribute your thoughts by clicking 'posts' below.

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