Friday, April 26

Paint a Pochade

My Pochade
7 x 9 in/17.8 x 22.9 cm
Copyright 2013
OK. What, you may ask, is a pochade?

First. Let's get the pronunciation right. It's poh-SHOD with the accent on SHOD. It's French.

Actually it's French for the word poche or pocket, according to Wikipedia. I suppose that's pocket, as in a painting small enough to fit in your pocket or almost anyway. It is a small sketch-like painting that "captures the color and atmosphere of a scene."

You may also be familiar with the term pochade box, which is a type of portable easel popular for en plein air painting. It's like a Swiss-army-knife for painters, in that in addition to being an adjustable easel, it's also a stand and a paintbox with partitions that folds up and can be carried under one arm. But I'm not talking about that pochade box.

I'm talking a pochade as in a small painting.Why paint a pochade?

A pochade makes a great study for a bigger painting either en plein air or in the studio.

A pochade allows you to paint only the main elements, due to its small size.

A pochade or more accurately the support on which you paint a pochade can be paper, wood, canvas (or other) and is relatively inexpensive, again due to its small size.

A pochade can be and maybe should be painted rather quickly.

A pochade makes a great small painting and a statement all by itself, especially framed.

Painting a pochade is fun.

Friday, April 19

Painting is Personal

A Personal Painting
I'm not 100 percent sure if it was Bob Ross, the late, great TV artist, who said that painting is personal. If not, then some other well-known painter has surely said it before. I agree, and here's why.

You almost always perform it solo.

It's just you, your eyes, your brain, and your hand. You are in control of the whole operation. 

It's your preference. You make all the decisions. You decide the medium as well as what to paint and how to paint and when to paint.

It's your prerogative. You decide what brand of paint, what type of brush (or palette knife), and what to paint on.

It's all in your domain. There aren't too many things in life about which you can say that.

If you don't take it personally, then you're doing it all wrong. Think about it--have you ever met a painter who didn't  care about his or her paintings?

After all, it is an extension of your mind--the physical manifestation of your creative self.

What could be more personal than that?

Friday, April 12

An Easy Way to Compare Paint Colors

Today I thought I'd give a refresher. Recently I wanted to compare a couple of yellows so that I could use the one I already had.

The painting exercise called for a palette using aureolin yellow, which I didn't have. What I did have was cadmium yellow medium, and I wondered if I could substitute. Of course, in actuality I knew I could use any yellow I wanted, but would cad yellow medium be close enough to the desired palette color?

I remembered that technical information about the paint pigment is listed on the label of the paint tube or jar usually in very small type. There will be a pigment number listed if the paint is professional grade or even a better student grade; however, some student grade paint doesn't give a pigment number, just the name of the color (e.g. azo yellow light).

The pigment number is the one that starts with a P (for pigment, duh). That's followed by either a Y, R, B, Bk, Br, W, G, O, or V  (for Yellow, Red, Blue, Black, Brown, White, Green, Orange, or Violet). That is followed by a number corresponding to a particular hue on the Color Index, which was assigned by the Society of Dyers and Colourists and the Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists.

Anyway, back to my problem.

I looked up the pigment number for aureolin yellow, which is PY40. Then I looked at the pigment number in very small type on my little tube of cad yellow medium. It was PY35.

Close enough for me and my paint budget. High Five!

Friday, April 5

Overcome Your Painting Inertia

This has been one of those weeks when I had the best intentions to be productive and creative and to have something to show for it by now, that is, late on a Friday afternoon.

I think someone said something like, "a good intention without action is failure." Or  something like that; don't quote me.

The point is, painting can be a hard thing to get going on, if you know what I mean.

You have your studio or workstation all set up to be productive. You have a plan for your next painting. You may even have the drawing or underpainting already done.

And yet.

You can't make yourself begin to paint. You make excuses or even busy-work for yourself. You run errands or putter around (or write an art blog)--anything to keep you from standing at that easel and actually painting.

Why is painting so hard to get started?

I think it's lack of confidence, oh, let's call it what it is: f-e-a-r. Fear of ruining a drawing, ruining a canvas, ruining a painting. I do know it was F.D. Roosevelt who said, "the only thing to fear is fear itself." And it's kind of like that in painting.

You, or I, will never succeed at painting if we cannot overcome our fear. Do not remain inert. Overcome it. Pick up that brush right now.