Category Archives: Color

Last one for a while

The earnest person of honest narrow vision who comes along and says, “I don’t see that colour,” should have one’s sympathy, as looked for with his coldly accurate eye, all the glory of colour disappears and has no existence.

Page 138, Oil Painting Techniques and Materials by Harold Speed

I wonder which ones…

On eliminating earth colors:

And there is some considerable danger of that nasty acid fruit salad sort of colouring turning up, as in some of the worst impressionist pictures.

Page 109, Oil Painting Techniques and Materials by Harold Speed

Furiosa

meglyman_furiosa

Furiosa by Meg Lyman

9×12″ gouache on cold press

Etsy link

I never gave this one an official post – here is my homage to my favorite movie, Fury Road.

I used gamut mapping and a limited palette to help this obtain the color-filtered look of the movie. My colors were, from top to bottom: gamboge (didn’t use much of this at all), titanium gold ochre, Hooker’s green, burnt umber, neutral tint, cerulean blue, and indigo. I also added a bit of quinacridone red for the faces, gold for the sparkles in the engine grease, and of course white. I could have limited the palette more and had even better color harmony.

furiosagamut

Note how all the octopus are hanging on the same horizon line, through the upper middle of the torso for an average-height imaginary octopus. I initially sketched them all wrong, and had to review my perspective rules.

Bonus thumbnails:

 

furiosathumbs

Bye 2015!

meglyman_furiosaFuriosa –  fan art homage to my favorite movie of all time

2015 was a good year. I was able to focus my art by doing more still life practice and background work, and I really got into the vulture culture/skull collecting community. I appreciate all of you – artists supporting artists, collectors, and the helpful and friendly vultures I’ve met. I hope we all have an awesome 2016!

meglyman_buoyBuoy – gouache work from a photo I took in La Push

meglyman_delacroixLiberty Leading the Cephalopods – a fantastic commission

meglyman_madronaMadrona – experimenting with oils and daily painting

meglyman_otternoveau_unvarnishOrange Otter – alla prima from life plus a little Klimt influence

meglyman_vanitasI_unvarnishedVanitas I – my first try at still life with lead white oil

meglyman_octophantOctophant – a fan suggestion and experiment in textures

Vanitas I

meglyman_vanitasI_varnish

Vanitas I by Meg Lyman

12×6″ oil on canvas

Etsy listing

A quick study in the impermanence of beauty. This was my first time trying lead white (Rublev Lead White No. 2), and it was awesome. It really makes a difference with the textures and is great for painting skulls.

Below is the scan of the unvarnished version. Subtle but interesting differences.

meglyman_vanitasI_unvarnished

Nutria Flower

meglyman_nutriajaw

Nutria Jaw by Meg Lyman

4×4″ oil on board

SOLD

I’m fascinated with the delightfully odd shape of nutria jaws. They remind me of flowers, so I made this one pink. Plus I wanted to try out my Old Holland Ultramarine Red-Pink.

Sweet Zombie Jesus

meglyman_bovid1_unvarnished

Bovid I by Meg Lyman

9×12″ oil on board

Etsy link

When I ordered this super awesome cow skull someone on Etsy found in the desert, I was excited. I was not, however, prepared for the sheer size of the thing. I pulled it out of the box, said “WOW,” and cradled it in my arms for an hour. I love it way more than I should. I wanted to paint it as soon as I laid eyes on it.

cowphoto

Note: larger than it looks

I set up to paint it on a cloudy day, with no lights on, just the nice north light overcast coming through the window. This limited my time – good practice for plein air. Plus I procrastinated and started after noon, but that’s neither here nor there.

cowskullsetup

Daylight… almost… gone…

I paid special attention to values on this, which is something I’ve always eyeballed, to the detriment of every painting I’ve ever made. I dusted off the value finder card and actually matched my paint to the values coming off the skull. I was surprised by the things I learned doing this, as is often the case when I actually pay attention.

The first thing I noticed is that the lightest value coming off the skull wasn’t the lightest value on the card, and ditto with the darkest. I would have painted it with the full value range if I hadn’t known that.

I have four tubes of Vasari paint – I love them very much – and I wanted to use them all on this, so they drove my color choices. I set up an orange cloth to get some nice, warm reflected light in the shadows. Then I laid out some color strings, matching them to the skull with the value finder.

cowpalette

Color strings being born

My colors were Vasari Raw Sienna, Naples Yellow Extra, Silver Point, and Cerulean Blue, plus some Blue Ridge Turkey Umber for the darks and some titanium white. The first three values of light blue I mixed were 9, 8, and 7, out of 10 on my value card. I tried to follow the very subtle shifts in value on the light side of the skull, which were totally obliterated by the camera shot above. And the one below.

cowwip

bad photo, sorry

So I know the photo is washed out here, but you can still see some of the value shifts if you squint. And you can see the second thing I learned today – the light blue values that looked pretty dark on my palette look absolutely white on my dark blue toned board. I’m certain the toned board would have caused me to push the value range too far on the light side of the skull if I hadn’t measured.

This stuff fascinates me! I bet that when I’m painting on a white surface, I do the same thing with darks – lose the subtlety of the value range because of the contrast with the ground. No wonder classical painters and the old masters toned their boards and did ebauche and all that fancy stuff. I had read about all that stuff but learning it the hard way really makes it stick. It also makes me excited to try it again next time.

p.s. this is one of those studies I was talking about – practice still life, plus skulls, will feature in a future larger scale painting. I promise.