Thursday, January 13, 2011

First Attempt at Color

Color Study 1: Jellyfish, 8" x 6"
 Yesterday I finally received the rest of the colors I needed in order to start some color studies. I was excited and ready to experiment when I got to the studio today, thinking this shouldn't be too hard. I used to paint in acrylics ten years ago and used color back then, so how hard could this be, right? Wrong. The main obstacle that I found today was that the paint just wouldn't dry fast enough. Because of this, my colors kept getting muddied and it was hard to get any crisp, bright colors and highlights.

I have been using oil paints for the past two years but was only using two colors, raw umber and white. With just two colors, you're not going to get mud when the colors mix (okay, maybe you will with raw umber, but it's actually what I want then). You're not going to have the colors dull, as I did today, because there aren't any. Two colors are easy to work, many colors are not. I also remembered that when I was using acrylics, I used to have a blow dryer handy since I was too impatient for those paints to dry. Now I have to have even MORE patience since these are oil paints and they can take forever to dry! Grrrr. I don't know if I can wait that long between layers of paint.

I did talk to a few fellow studio-mates about what to do. (I'm a self-taught artist so I really have no idea how to use oils and the MANY different things you can add to it.) It was suggested that I add some galkyd or liquin to the paint in order to speed the drying but since these are already alkyd oil paints, I'm not sure that will help all that much. It was also suggested that I work on more than one painting at a time so that I have something else to paint while I wait for current painting to dry. (I could always do some pre-calculus while the paint dries too. I've been known to do that on occasion.) This will probably be the best solution for me.

Another "problem" was that I wasn't used to mixing colors. I just couldn't get the colors or shades that I wanted. I think this will get better with more practice, and I plan on getting lots of it.  I had to stop painting since the paint needs to dry before I can add more to it. I am also thinking of covering this in wax just to see what that would look like. These  are all studies/ experiments so I'll probably try a few things over the finished pieces. 

Overall, I was pretty happy with what I painted today. I realize it's not a masterpiece and probably not as good as my black and white paintings yet, but I think I'll eventually get there with more practice.  


  1. Bulletin, Jhina: use encaustic. No waiting.

  2. Please. More color. You are good at it.