Monday, May 20, 2013

"May Snowballs" (oil on linen; 9" x 12") sold


I am told that the color wheel is the artist's best friend. So I am trying to learn how to use it.

Mixing grays I: I first mixed the triad (yellow-green, blue-violet, and red-orange), then mixed three grays from the first three colors. 

Mixing grays II: The three innermost colors are the final round of grays.

Reference photo and the value wash

I am still trying to learn how to mix lovely luminous grays, so I thought I would share my attempts with my readers.  I saw a huge bush of white pom pom flowers at the Mill at Fine Creek during Gregory Packard's workshop.  They sort of look like hydrangeas, but hydrangeas are not blooming yet.  I asked around and learned that they were "Snowball Viburnum Bush".

Identifying the flowers was the first hurdle.  I would have loved to report that painting them was a breeze after mixing the grays based on the triad of yellow-green, blue-violet, and red-orange.  It wasn't!  Painting the shadows on the white flowers probably gave me the biggest headache.

I thought about scraping the whole darned thing off. But my blog is called "Painting Journal" for a reason.  It is supposed to chronicle my artistic journey--trials and triumphs.  Someday I will paint like John Singer Sargent, Claude Monet, Richard Schmid, and Gregory Packard, all rolled into one brilliant genius.  For now, I continue to go through growing pains.  There is one happy development though.  I am using A LOT OF PAINTS!


  1. Kim, I learned from another blogger how to get rid of the crazy letters that you have to type and can hardly read, and it takes two or three attempts to get right. The new way lets you look at the comment before it is posted so nothing crazy can happen. Change to "moderate comments" if you like the idea.

    How do you get the final round of grays? I've always kept piles of grays around, but just based on temperature. This way seems like it would add a lot of harmony to the painting. I like the idea. Thank you. Always great information on your blog.

  2. I would like to refer to your blog ( as a link?),but wanted to check with you first.

  3. Just mix from the first round of grays--orange with green, green with purple, and purple with orange. It takes a while to mix all nine colors and you will be going through a lot of paint. Since most colors have titanium white in them, they seem to dry slowly. I use the piles for a few paintings. Thanks for the suggestion about comments.

  4. Of course, you can refer to my blog. Thanks, Carol!

  5. I call it "storming" before "norming" ...I am in the same place as you are struggling with the color wheel and trying to make careful but not tentative choices..keeping colors fresh and not overworking. Susan Abbott's blog is so full of great information it has fired me up

  6. I will check it out. I know her. She used to teach at the Art League School in Alexandria. Thanks, Jo!