Organize your Thoughts on Painting

Boy, i think I hit on something here… I came across this on and off a few times in the past couple years, but when i started watching this local artist in T.V. for about 6 shows he did, i noticed he repeated certain words…..

“Is it a warm or is it a “cool” color?    This simplifies things sooooo much in your head and eliminates so much confusion and frustration.

He didn’t elaborate further than that. But here’s my take on it.     My palette is mainly using the warm/cool versions of each color on the color wheel. (warm & cool blue, warm & cool red etc etc..

So…once you get used to using just 2 versions of each color on the wheel, you’ll ask yourself, IS IT A WARM OR COOL while you’re paining (of a blue or whaterver you’re using).

So simple.       You just need to try and get the values right too of course, but that is another organized thought…VALUES , not color.  You don’t have to get the colors dead on like the photo, unless that’s what you want to do. I don’t. I just try to get them pretty close.  It kind of depends on the subject. If it were a single blue vase..sure. But if it’s a landscape…the gree trees and so on don’t need to be perfect color correct.   You can see how you can actuall be reminding yourself on this and how it takes out alot of confusion if you start feeling unsure about yourself.

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8 thoughts on “Organize your Thoughts on Painting”

  1. A few points.

    There’s more to ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ than simple viewing and analysis.

    At any point in the painting it’s not only ‘warmer’ or ‘cooler’ than an adjacent portion, but how much of a difference.

    This brings in values which can be skewed by the hue. One thing you can do is make a cardboard ‘viewfinder’ with red cellophane stretched over the hole. This eliminates the hue, leaving the values.

    This brings us to source photos. If you were to look at myriad images of the ‘Mona Lisa’, you’ll note the values in the images may vary by a large amount.

    With any source photograph (or Plein Air) you can change values, here and there, as well as move item(s) around along with adding item(s) from other sources, or eliminating thing(s). It all depends on what you want to focus on and a possible eye path through the work.

    Does every painting work out? No. Not even for the Old Masters or Living Masters.

    Is a painting something to obsess over? Not in my view. It’s only canvas and paint. It’s not like there’s the risk of a car engine blowing up, or starting a fire in your home.

    Being unsure about things is part, and parcel, in all aspects of life. It’s normal.

    With oil painting once a session becomes touch dry you can coat the whole thing (or selected area(s)) with a thin coat of Liquin(tm). Once it is dry you can paint over it and if what you do isn’t right you can wipe the paint away without disturbing what you’ve got done to this point.

    1. Hi Stoney, thanks for visiting my page here. On how much of a difference…now you’re getting to very critical things. I may be a perfectist but only in certain ways. I judge my coolness or warmness just by eyeballing it. I guess all this is just a matter of how much experience an artist has and that’s really what it takes, doing painting after painting till you start to see things better. Sometimes just exaggerating a warm or cool is actually needed…and that’s a matter of experience where you just FEEL the eye needs to be “pulled” over here (adding more saturation of a warm/cool) if not for just that sake alone..all experimenting.

  2. Hi Pat, I learned the importance of values from the monochromatic background of the dog portrait I did. I carefully applied glazes over portions of the background with very little color to control the value build up in shadow areas, and I lightened the light areas working out to the darker area, keeping the transition in mind. I see the importance of concentrating on the light, medium and dark values and taking my time on the finishing touches, working over a few days to wrap up this painting project. I was told not to ‘overwork’ it, but I think that the final touches are what makes the painting come ‘alive’, this meaning that I didn’t redo/repaint any part of the subject. I only worked on the effects or personality of the painting. Does that make sense to you? ~Liz

  3. Overwork…i still do it so much. I’ll do feather touches for hours. Using my fingers only. I think it’s ok to do that though. If I’m just smearing, like the sky or something, brushwork isn’t important. It’s easy to think, “that is wrong”. Too much reading and tutorials. Glad the dog worked out for you. What did you use for the medium of the glazes?

  4. I bought a small bottle of Liquitex glazing medium from the art store which was easy to apply. But I’ve been reading that a regular medium could be used. What do you use?

  5. I always use the Akalyd Walnut medium. It’s cheap and it’s glossy which i like. But really, i don’t use any medium of the time…only when i need it for the fine lines or something..or to oil out my painting when “done”.
    It was beading up REAL bad on many of my paintings and it looks really bad because of that..half shiny, half dull….i just tried recently “dumping” out of my gallon can of turp…(that’s my style)…a few “drops” into “some” medium. This helped break up that water (medium) tension so it wouldn’t bead up on me…i think it works now doing that.

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