Saturday, June 19, 2010

Moonrise At Foxen Canyon

"Moonrise At Foxen Canyon"
24" X 30" Oil on Canvas
Just finished up this large painting. This was inspired by a small 5"x7" painting done in the studio a few weeks ago. It was nice to go large trying out my new Utrecht paints which I am absolutely loving. Utrecht makes a great cadmium yellow light which lets me mix some awesome greens. I don't buy greens and mix my own from french ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow light and alizarin crimson. I started that combination using Winsor Newton paints using their cadmium yellow pale which is my personal favorite cadmium yellow. I've been trying out various cad yellow lights by other paint companies and Utrecht wins hands down. A good close second would be Lukas's cad yellow light.
I can tell when I'm using the right cad yellow when I can mix my favorite greens in 2 seconds. Using other brands I can play with mixing the same greens for 20 minutes....ok, maybe 5 or 10 but who wants to do that, especially when out painting in the field! It's hard enough to keep the momentum going on a painting without having to mess with the uncertainty in mixing commonly used colors. I like to experiment but not when I'm on a big painting or one that is going really good at any size.

11 comments:

Marian Fortunati said...

Beautiful and crisp, Ron...

So tell me ... why does the paint brand make a difference in the amount of time it takes to mix greens?? Isn't it just a matter of putting in the "right" amount of each into the mix???

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Marian,
Each vendor makes their own mixes, uses different oils, binders and amounts of pigment to produce the same colors of say Cad Yellow Light, medium etc....This makes the amount you use to make a certain color change. When I mix greens using WN it's a breeze...when I use Grumbacher it's never quite the same colors..close but not the same. When I used Holbein it was horrible. I 've used Lukas and it was really close. When I tried these Utrecht paints it was just like using WN...right on the money greens.

It's probably more "my greens" than anything. I'm always mixing greens and I use a lot of them in my paintings so I'm very particular about what value and hue they should look to me. Back in college I just bought green because that's what the teacher wanted us to do. Want the best shadow for greens?, try Sap Green...man, that stuff is "instant shadow" on foliage, haha. Best stuff they ever made for that. After college I read more books on painting and began to mix my own. using the right amount is exactly right but when you do that with 3 different colors there are many variations you can come up with before you get there. With certain paint companies I know I can mix the right colors in seconds.

Gina Brown said...

This is stunning :)

Ron Guthrie said...

Thanks Gina. It came out pretty good...these large sizes...I'm still getting used to painting big again, hahaha. Fun though!

Mick Carney said...

There are all sorts of wonderful subtle bits in this painting which must be a stunner in the flesh. I'm struggling with greens at the moment and whilst I am happy with the bran of paints I use the thing that is difficult is selecting the appropriate blue and yellow to begin my search, probably too many tubes in the box. The experimentation might get me there eventually. Your confidence seems to arise from your knowledge of the particular paints you have experience of. I was interested by your comment about sap green as I've not used it before. Does it have a role or am I just showing my lack of 'green' confidence?

Ron Guthrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Mick,
Sap green was a color I remember reading about in an old Walter Foster book by William Palluth. Palluth used it for mixing his dark greens and shadows in grasses. I did some paintings in my garage using the Sap Green and I loved it...it made the most natural looking shadows in grasses and great darks for foliage...if you can get a hold of it try it out. I think I still have some and should mess with it again.

....And this is just me, I've found that a good base to work with for greens is French Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson...the trick was finding the right yellow. I used Cadmium Yellow Pale (Winsor Newton)and the hunt was over. The trouble with CYP is that it is expensive so you have to find it online when it is on sale. Of course, my "expensive" might not be your Expensive.

In the long run you can either buy greens or mix them. I prefer to mix them. I could do them with Van Gogh or Gumbacher paints but I probably wouldn't be as happy as I am using WN or Utrecht. It is a very personal process finding the colors that get you excited. Putting on colors that you feel are the best you can make really keeps the confidence level up high as you work on your paintings....all that's left to do is make sure you put them in the right place and then sign your name. Thanks Mick.

Sheri said...

Hi Ron, I have been following your blog for the past few months and really enjoy how you explain your "process"-it truly is an art form-just the exquisite way you describe a color tells me how much you love what you do.
Your work is gorgeous. I live near the beach in So Cal, but enjoy jumping in my car to head up in your direction, with no clear destination. That section of CA offers such beauty. You capture it well with a great deal of sensitivity.
Sheri.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Sheri,
Thanks a lot for the comments. Vision, mixing color and the application on the canvas are the big 3 in painting. Just the steps to mixing paint with all of it's variables can be something you could write a book about. It's critical in making a good painting and one I'm always trying to get better at...maybe in 10 years I'll be really good at it, haha.

I love the coast down south...warmer. The view of anywhere on the coast up here is really nice...less crowded too. I do miss being able to get to LB harbor in 30 or so minutes from Pasadena though.
Thanks Sheri!

cbmosaics said...

This is beautiful, Ron! I want to be there. :) (Hmm, where is it, maybe I'll go, hahaha) The colors are wonderful, the hazy sun, the grasses. Love it.

Just found your blog and will now go catch up on what I have been missing!

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Christine,
Thanks for checking out the blog! This scene was up in Foxen Canyon. I think it was the hillsides just east of where the Firestone vineyard is. Thanks again for checking out the blog Christine.