Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Latest Efforts

The following are recent efforts. Mostly done at AVA sessions, although I've missed the last two due to family commitments. Struggling to concentrate a bit at the moment.

St Kilda - 16" x 12" Lanaquarelle 140lb not

This was a 30minute sketch including drawing and painting. It was based on an old black and white photograph - very hazy and gloomy.  St Kilda is the remotest island off the Orkney isles from North West Scotland. It was inhabited for centuries and the last dwindling inhabitants were removed at their own request in 1930. Life was very harsh and sea birds formed an important part of their diet.  The subject  was buildings which I don't do these days - not a favourite of mine. Colours as you can see are basically puddle colours mainly mixed from Ultramarine Blue and Translucent Brown from Schmincke. This latter has been re-named Transparent Brown in the recent updating of the range. I don't like this paper much.

Tropical Bird - Fabriano Artistico rough 12" x 9".

I'd drawn this one a while ago and as I finished early and quickly painted this. (I always seem to finish early and usually wash the cups up).  

The next subject this Thursday is farm/domestic animals so I drew this composite from three photographs. I quite like it  and intend to view the painting of a cockerel on Gerard Hendriks DVD before I paint it.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Schmincke's New Paints (Pigments). Pt 2.

I have now looked at the remainder of the new paints from Schmincke.  I stress I have not bought any as yet so this is purely my analysis of the pigments from a purely non technical viewpoint. My source is the The Art of Color database.

Quinacridone Purple. Pigment Violet 55 (PV55). Organic.."bluish violet to violet blue". Claimed to be superior to Quinacridone Violet PV19...."Hue closer to PV23 than PV19 or PV29".  PV55 was first introduced by Daniel Smith, and I bought a tube very soon after it was introduced. Not an essential colour and it lay for a while in my paint drawer without being used. When I came to squeeze some out found it had solidified. I know there are various ways of resuscitating such paint but to
 my mind this is a negative.

 Ultramarine Blue  PB29 "The colour of Ultramarine Blue can be varied all the way from a pale greenish blue through to violet". We know this from the chart of the various shades that Zvonimir von Tosic supplied. Schmincke already have an Ultramarine "Finest' with this pigment so presumably it is one of the other shades.

Phalo Sapphire Blue. PB15:6.  Epsilon Copper Phthalocyanine. "Intense deep blue in mass tone, reddish to greenish bright blue in shades....staining". Phalo blue comes in several versions including- it is said - a 'yellowish' one. PB15:6, amongst other PB15's, is listed by Lukas who call it simply Phalo Blue. PB15 appears in most makers ranges, often in more than one version. PB15:3, a greenish shade, seems most popular.

Cobalt Azure Blue. PB35. Cerulean Blue. "light red to greenish blue with a grayish cast".  A very common pigment with several versions, mostly called Cerulean Blue.

Viridian. PG18. Inorganic. "Dull or deep mid green to bluish green". This is common in other ranges and tends to be on the weak side. The artist Trevor Chamberlain said he had tried many and eventually found one by Talens (Rembrandt) that he liked.

Transparent Ochre . PY42, Yellow Iron Oxide. This is a very common synthetic pigment, an earth colour substitute "Dull reddish yellow to yellowish brown orange...Colour, transparency can vary widely depending on manufacturer variables .... PY42 and PY43 exist in almost any shade of yellow, orange, red and violet brown to green brown". The choice is yours!

Transparent Sienna. PR101. "Synthetic iron oxide red, inorganic.....various brownish yellow to orange to red shades with violet undertones....transparency depends on particle size and other factors, grinding, additives, binder etc". You will find PR101 in most ranges but  there can be considerable variation between different makers versions.

Transparent Umber. PR101. See above comments.

Transparent Green Gold. PY154/PBr7. Green Gold is usually made with PY129. This is a convenience paint made with PY154 Benzimidazolone Yellow and PBr7. PY154 is described as `'bright, light greenish through to yellow...claimed by some as good primary yellow". PBr7 is brown iron oxide "yellowish brown to brown to dull red....transparency varies widely depending on mineral content and other impurities....exists in almost any shade of yellow" , This Schmincke is an  unknown quantity until tried.

Spinal Brown. PY119 Zinc Iron Yellow. Inorganic "Dull yellow to brownish".

Maroon Brown. PBr7. See Transparent Green Gold for description of PBr7.

Mahogany Brown. PBr33. Mixed metal oxide.. Zinc Iron chromite brown. "Dark brown to reddish brown".

Mars Brown. PBr6. Iron oxide hydroxide brown... 'inorganic...natural and/or synthetic Ferris oxide...brown to dull red. See comments under PBr7.

Green Umber. PBr7. See comments earlier on PBr.7.

Graphite  Grey. PBk10. Graphite. Inorganic...crystalized carbon...dark grey with metallic sheen"

Hematite Black. PG17. Here we have a mystery. According to my information PG17 is Chrome Oxide Green. ...dull yellowish green to mid green". How therefore can it be called Hematite Black? I checked on the pigment number and indeed PG17 was confirmed. Convinced this couldn't be correct I contacted Schmincke and received a very prompt reply from a lady called Claudia Moller.. " 14 789 hematite black contains the pigment"hematite", a black chromium oxide pigment which is named PG17." Make of this what you will. Perhaps Zvonimir will comment.

Mars Black PBk11. Mars Black..." Bluish gray to black". Inorganic. Synthetic or natural black iron oxide.

Cobalt Violet Hue. ?. I have so far no details of the pigments involved in this ;paint.As it is described as a 'hue' I assume more than one pigment is involved.

Perylene Violet PV29. Perylene Violet. ..."Organic Dark dull red purple"

Perylene Green PBk31.Paliogen Black. ..."Inorganic Intense Very dark bluish green - almost black in masstone". First introduced by Holbein and I don't know if anyone else offers this pigment.

Overall I'm not sure what all this proves as we now know that variation in pigments of the same number is considerable and the way the manufacturers formulate the paints also has a large influence on the final result. Nevertheless I hope this will enable some of us to determine whether or not we wish to explore these paints further and indeed try some that seem interesting. I think the Schmincke range is very good and with these additions even more competitive.

A word or two about PBr7. This designation or whatever you call it covers a wide range of earth pigments, in other words coloured rocks that  were and are mined, crushed and turned eventually into paints. According to Handprint - now seriously out of date (sadly) - manufacturers have been replacing true earth colours with the synthetics PR101. PY42 and PY43. What many are not doing was changing the information and still saying  "PBr7". Trading standards? It also seems more and more might be changing pigments and /or adding them without letting us - the buyers of these paints - know what is going on.  I don't know the extent of it but it is definitely happening in certain instances.  We have been told that the earth colours are running out and they had to seek alternatives ie synthetics. I don't believe this for one minute. Just in my own experience there is a mine in the Forest of Dean  that still mines earth pigments and when I was in Provence, France not that long ago you could buy tons of the stuff with shops selling nothing else. We also have Daniel Smith with the Primateks. I'm told pigments are now being mainly sourced from China and the Alibaba conglomerate will supply an much as you want in metric tons. Who is kidding who?

If you want more information see https://janeblundellart.blogspot.com/  and put Schmincke in the search box. Fantastic.

Added: 14/04/2017. There are changes to the Schmincke range that go beyond introducing these new colours.  Two of my favourites , Translucent Orange and Translucent Brown have been renamed as "Transparent Orange and Brown. I suggest if interested you consult Jane Blundells blog and also the Schminke.de site where there is a complete online brochure in great detail. In fact if you like Schmincke this is a must. There are other changes. 

A comprehensive INDEX for the blog is in June 2014. Type June 2014 in the top left hand search box and this takes you to it.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Watercolour Paintings (29)

Here are Aprils batch of watercolour paintings. Another selection showing the huge variety possible with this underrated , at least in the UK,  medium. My aim is to show the vast range of paintings possible with watercolour. Obviously, like everyone else, I have my particular favourites and also tend towards paintings that are loose with the mantra 'less is more'. However that doesn't mean I don't admire and marvel at paintings done in styles and techniques different to those I aspire to. Many of these artists are unknown to me but you can look up most of them on Facebook, which is where the paintings originally appeared.

Milind Mulick

Milind doesn't usually do flowers but the colours tend to mirror those in his other paintings.

Gerard Hendriks 56 x 76cm

A slightly unusual subject for Gerard but I notice some of his recent paintings are moving into different subjects. 

Daniel Guilbert 120 x 80cm

This reminds me of the Trevor Chamberlain painting of a large tanker. I think this not quite up to that standard but not a million miles away. 

N B Gurung

A fine Nepalese artist.

Judith Farnworth

Aleksandrs Neberekutins 20 x 30cm

An example of a very loose but effective painting. 

Miguel Torres Garcia

Amazing painting this with stunning detail. I don't know the size but obviously quite large.

Orhan Gurel

This is a sketch - wonderful!

Zhou Tianya

Nora McPhail

I like her loose colourful paintings. No overworking.

The wonderful Bev Jozwiak, I like her jackdaw paintings as well as many others.

Jean-Luc Decron

The only details here are the eyes, nose and lips but look how they set off the rest of the painting. Great colour choices too.

The great Gerard Hendriks

This may well be the cockerel painted on his DVD. Contrast this with the previous painting by him I've shown..

Michael Reardon

Obviously another large one (?) but very atmospheric. Look how the river contrasts with the many greys of the rest.

Ali Abbas Syed

Celal Gunaydin


Sun Yu

Wow again!

I love this but seem to have mislaid the artists name - nevertheless I decided to include it. I love the approach.

Lars Eje Larsson

I only recently became aware of this artist and love his work.

Friday, 24 March 2017

This Week's Paintings

Actually yes, they are mine not the fabulous ones I post monthly. The next instalment of those will be in a few days time - April. The Amerindian painting was done at home. I have reappraised the way I do these portraits becoming dissatisfied with recent efforts. and have attempted a slightly different approach. Following Charles Reid's mantra "be a little crude...mistakes are part of it" I first made the drawing using a size 7 2B Pentel mechanical pencil. The following day I commenced the painting but did not complete it,  going so far then leaving time to reflect on what I'd done. One tends (at least I do) to see things differently after reflection and a little time - a day or two - rather than first impressions. Maybe that's just me. I still aspire to do better and never ever feel that I've produced a 100% result.

Whirling Horse Sioux 1900

I'm quite pleased with this and feel I achieved something approaching where I want to be.

Flowers - 16" x 12" Fabriano Artistico Extra White not.

Flowers /foliage was the subject at this weeks AVA session. I obtained the photo by 'googling', which is how  I normally get most of my references. The colours appealed to me.

I again made the drawing the day previous so could concentrate solely on the painting at the AVA session. Only two brushes were used, mostly a No 10 travel brush from Rosemary which is  a nice full-bodied sable, and a NO 6 Isabey travel brush. Flower colours were also limited. The reds were all various dilutions of Quinacridone Coral from Daniel Smith. The yellows were Hansa Yellow Medium (Daniel Smith PY97) and Indian Yellow (Rowney PY153). I still have stocks of the Rowney although PY 153 is said to be no longer available.. The marks on the petals were made by a Staedtler pigment liner. I bought a set of six a while ago from Cass Art in Bristol.

The greens are slightly more complex. Apatite Green from Daniel Smith, Sap Green from Lukas and one or two mixes of Ultramarine Blue and Hansa Yellow Medium. There is also some Cobalt Teal Blue (Daniel Smith). Possibly I've missed some out.

I was reasonably happy with this painting. The flowers are Alstroemerias ( I think that's the spelling).

I don't put these forward as good paintings just my current work.  I'm beginning to paint a little more often again and hopefully emerging from the trough I've been stuck in. Not painters block exactly but something similar. This also applies to my health, which although generally good, has been less than 100% the last few months and may have been a contributory factor.

Monday, 20 March 2017

A Brief Look at Schmincke's New Paints (Pigments) - Pt 1 Yellows and Reds

Schmincke recently extended their range (see previous post) with 35 new paints. This is a major upgrade and well worth consideration. A  qualification. I have not purchased any of these paints as yet so this is purely a look at the characteristics of the pigments involved. My references are Handprint and the Pigment Database. Handprint is becoming out of date and some of these new pigments are only listed in the Pigment Database (The Color of Art Pigment Database) which, though highly technical, is an amazing source of information. 

 The new colours.

Rutile Yellow PY53. Antimony Titanium Yellow Rutile. PY53 is in common use as a pale yellow in many other ranges. It is described as a 'pale, light greenish lemon yellow....'one of the cleanest and brightest of the inorganic pigments'. I have this in another range and it's a fairly weak colour.

Turners Yellow PY216. Winsor & Newton list a Turners Yellow' but it is a different pigment.  Soplafex Yellow...'clean bright yellow to orange'.

Yellow Orange PY110. Isoindolinone Yellow 'synthetic organic....light deep yellow with red undertone'...'nice deep yellow'. This pigment has been introduced by other makers and is of fairly recent origin.

Quinacridone Gold Hue PY150/PR101. This is a convenience paint. PR101 is a synthetic pigment replacing many earth colours with a variety of hues. PY150 is Nickel Azo Yellow..".Deep dull reddish yellow ...slight fading"

Saturn Red PO64. This seems to be a new pigment. Benzimidazolone Orange, 'Bright reddish orange'

Transparent Red Deep PR144. Another new one. 'Azo condensation red...mid shade red'.

Geranium Red PR242. Another new pigment. Diazo condensation scarlet...'bright yellow red...fades, , hue shift towards bluish'

Quinacridone Red Light PR207. Quinacridone Scarlet....yellow red, fades.

Ruby Red Deep. PR264. Pyrrole Red Rubine. 'Dark, deep red, violet undertone, fades slightly...good substitute for Alazarin crimson'

Vermillion Light. PR188. Napthol Scarlet Lake, Bright yellowish red, darkens, dulls slightly...opaque forms are more lightfast'.This latter comment refers to the fact there are several versions of this pigment which vary in transparency. PR188 has been a staple - as Scarlet Lake - in Winsor & Newtons range.

Perylene Dark Red PR178, Perylene. Anthraguinone Red. 'deep red -fades slightly,'

Bordeaux  PR187 Permanent Pink FL. Azo Alazarine (blue shade)....Monoazo Benzimidazolone. 'Bright or deep bluish red'.

Potters Pink PR233. Chrome Tin Pink (Potters Pink) Synthetic organic...Dull, light red pink. 'May contain lead oxide but unlikely on modern formulations'. Winsor & Newton introduced this colour in their last upgrade.

Brilliant Opera Rose PR122/Fluor. Quinacridone Red. ACRA Magenta. 'Clean bright blue shade, light red....dulls slightly, hue shift towards light mid-red'. This refers purely to PR 122 a very popular pigment. Fluor is a dye which is likely to fade. This colour was originally  introduced by Holbein and became a popular choice of flower painters, despite containing a dye. Winsor & Newton in their last upgrade introduced this paint (including a dye) and claim it is reasonably lightfast.

Quinacridone Magenta PR202. Quinacridone Crimson. Bluish Magenta to mid red.

There are some colours amongst the earths that are yellow and others like Green-Gold but I'll cover them in the next instalment which will include some quite interesting colours.

In covering the red pigments it may be noted that 'fading' features. This shouldn't necessarily put you off. Bruce McEvoy of Handprint said quite categorically that he didn't believe some of the ratings claimed by manufacturers, and suggested  that many reds were suspect and you should conduct your own lightfastness tests. I did  a few over three months and didn't see any deterioration but don't claim my tests were definitive. It's somewhere in the back catalogue.

The above is not meant to be definitive but just to give some indication about these colours/pigments so that - if your interest is aroused - you might try one or two. I believe Schmincke are an excellent brand and these additions make them well worth consideration. Two of my favourites in the existing range are Translucent Orange (PO71) and Translucent Brown (PBr41).

There are a number of new pigments to watercolour amongst these latest Schmincke paints. The emphasis is also on single pigments paints - 31out of 35 - which I like.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

At the AVA last Thursday

The following two paintings were done at Avon Valley Artists Thursday session last week. The subject was 'retro ' and I googled 'old fashioned flowers' which produced the following.

Hollyhocks - 16" x 12" Lanaquarelle not

The colours of the guide photo appealed to me and oranges, reds and yellows were given full reign. Colours included Translucent Orange (Schmincke  PO71), Quinacridone Rose (Graham PV19), Perylene Maroon -also Graham, Cadmium Orange, Gold Ochre, Raw Sienna, some colours darkened with Ultramarine Blue and mainly Sap Green (Lukas) with touches of other greens. I may have missed a couple of others.

Fabriano Artistico Extra White 16" x 12" 

I completed the drawings - 2B Size 7 Pentel mechanical pencil - my preferred drawing tool - the previous day. This one is much simpler - took less time - with Sap Green and various dilutions of Quinacridone Rose.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Recent Work

I post these with some trepidation especially comparing them with many of the artists I've featured in the 'Watercolour Paintings' series. However it's just my current work which has been done over the last three months while I've been suffering various health issues - mainly relatively minor  things which tend to assail you with increasing age.  I'm also fighting to avoid slipping backwards as work I did four years ago is - in some instances - superior to what I'm now turning out. Still enough of this negativity. Most of these were done at Avon Valley Artists sessions on Thursdays.

Turkeys for Xmas - this was done sometime in December.

A Bumblebee

'A Feast'

Young Cheetah hiding in rocks.

Long Tailed Tits

A Damsel Fly(?)

Chief Boy - A Blackfoot Indian.

A made up Indian warrior - in greys made from Ultramarine Blue and Schmincke Translucent Brown. A quick sketch.

All the above are 16" x 12 apart from the long tailed tits which are 12" x 9". Papers vary from Waterford, Lanaquarelle and Cornwall. The long tailed tits are Fabriano Artistico rough. All surfaces are not and 140lb (300gsm). One or two others I attempted I decided not to post (!)