Self Portrait in coloured pencil

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Conversations with Artists

Conversations with Artists

I have been having an Open Studio as part of the C-Art Festival. 
The first weekend stood out for me because my visitors were fellow artists who were interested in the water-mixable oil paint that I am currently using. 
This is what I told them. 
I started by buying Duo Aqua paints. I bought a lot of colours and I like the way they mix with water easily and blend on the canvas. They dry quite quickly, not as quickly as acrylics of course, so they need to be kept wet. They dry matte. 
However the colours, particularly the earth colours: the umbers, ochres and siennas, weren't the precise colours that I expected. 
When I took up portrait painting seriously I used pastels and the brand I used basically was Talens Rembrandt. I used the earth colour in the range of tints for different skin colours. So I expected that if I mixed, for example, burnt sienna with white that I would end up with a colour that would work well for a man who spent time in the outdoors. 
Another colour that I used a lot of when painting portraits in Rembrandt pastels was Gold Ochre. Duo Aqua doesn't include this pigment. So I looked for it in Talens water-mixable oils, Cobra. They don't include Gold Ochre but I bought a number of the earth pigments to try them. 
Cobra paints appear to contain more oil than Duo Aqua and they dry slightly slower. The pigments still weren't the exact colours that I hoped for. 
Then I did some research (on Google) and discovered that small amounts of ordinary oils can be mixed with water-mixable oils. As I wanted to mix small amounts of Gold Ochre with a lot of white, I bought a couple of Talens Rembrandt oil paints including Gold Ochre! That worked brilliantly for the portrait of my friend who has a very pale creamy complexion. 
Her portrait is nearly finished. I am waiting for it to dry completely so I can glaze another colour over her hair. She doesn't like it as I painted it but I am not going to paint it again. It will take too long. I hope that glazing it with umber will make her happy. I will post the result next week. 
After that success, I continued to investigate possibilities and I discovered that Schminke make mediums that mix with ordinary oil paints to make them water mixable. I bought a tube of their gel and a bottle of the liquid medium. And as I loved painting in Schminke pastels (they were like painting with butter!) I bought some Schminke oil paints. Their Mussini paints are of wonderful quality and they sell Natural Raw Umber, Natural Burnt Umber and Natural Burnt Sienna so I bought them and have fallen in love with them. I took advantage of a sale to buy some more interesting colours as you can see in the photo above. 
Schminke Mussini paints dry slower than the Cobra paints and may be more glossy but I am not sure about that. Time will tell. And if I have matte and gloss areas on my portraits, varnish will cure that. 
It is important to keep adding the medium or the oil paint and water separate out. But a bit more medium cures the problem straight away. 
Because the pigments are different in every brand, I have been making colour charts. They are not good colour charts, but they show the differences. 
Below is a photo of my colour charts taken under artificial lighting so the colours are nowhere near accurate but it gives the idea.

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