Class Notes: Black and White, in Color

In Class, students often ask how to mix "black"; a good question though I don't like to see black in work and don't think absolute BLACK appears often in nature. In reality absolute neutral black (I call it "dead black") really only comes from a tube, and unless skillfully used, creates unnatural looking work.
The same goes for absolute WHITE; seldom seen in nature, using it in a still life or landscape gives a painting the look of animation, or a cartoon.
In the piece above the black is a mix of Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson - the 2 darkest pigments on our "limited Palette". It is really violet but in this context has the appearance of black because our eye only perceives the dark and unless white is added, we can't discern the color. It does, however, have a lively look compared to the "dead black" you could actually mix by adding, maybe one other color from the "limited palette"- or by getting it straight from the tube.
The white pitcher appears WHITE in context but is many values of blue and violet.
BLACK and WHITE, are both neutrals but learning to see them as color, and then mixing them as color will create work with more energy and color interest.
The question should not be "how do I mix black?" but
"how do I see, mix and use color to appear as black (or white) in the context of the painting?"

If you are not familiar with a limited palette- here it is:
Lemon Yellow
Cad Yellow Medium (close to the color of a school bus)
Cad Red Light
Alizarin Crimson
Cerulean Blue
Ultramarine Blue, and White

"Plein Air" to support the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust

What: Artists paint the landscape to support Colorado open spaces
When: Saturday, May 22, 8 am to 2 pm
Where: The Gilmore Ranch just west of Alamosa;
Take Hwy 160 west out of Alamosa to County Road 105 South and turn right, go 1.5 miles until the road ends at the Big Red Barn.

The Public is invited to come out Saturday, to the beautiful Gilmore Ranch, home to Jim Gilmore, award winning Colorado wildlife Sculptor, where local and regional artists will gather to paint on-site in a program connecting artists with conserved lands.
Come out to support the Land Trust and enjoy a day at the Ranch.


Paintings From Taos

Eldon - here they are,
at least a few, and the jury is still out on those. Sue McCullough and I hit it pretty hard, painting about 3 a day. We started 2 mornings before dawn, hoping to beat the wind but in the end our days were beautiful. We did get caught by a sudden storm while painting on the mountain near Pilar - nearly lost the easels but got everything thrown in the truck before it really began to pour.
At the top is one of those early mornings around the San Geronimo Lodge and right below here is a long view toward Rancho de Taos, done near the end of the week. Next to that is my interpretation of the Gorge. Jeannie Breeding was standing conveniently in my view, and later bought that piece. Thanks Jeannie.


Spring in Taos, NM with the PAAC

I just got back from 5 days in Taos painting with the Plein Air Artists Colorado (PAAC).
This time of year can be blustery or even snowy in Colorado - so Taos is like a tonic. Cottonwoods are bursting a brilliant green and crab apple trees are blooming pink; it is a treat to paint there in the Spring, and a challenge. It must be a type of snow blindness that we get during a long winter, because seeing all those New Mexico greens made me think the cones in my eyes would pop.
At the top is Sue McCullough and David Montgomery painting a street scene in Arroyo Hondo. We also spent a day painting in Arroyo Seco and this is the view from the back of the little church there.
The bottom photo is Ranch de Taos Church, a land mark in Taos and later I will post the painting I did of that same church from way down the road.

High Desert Painters in Taos, NM

The High Desert Painters were also in Taos this week.
We met about 5 years ago at Ghost Ranch through Ann Templeton and formed a wonderful professional association, coming together from New Mexico, California, North Carolina, Colorado and Novia Scotia to paint the West en plein air.
Janis Loverin, Nita Harper, Jana Van Wyk, Judy Howells, and myself.
Ann Templeton was painting down the road and didn't get in this group photo.
We also missed Nelson Hubley, who wasn't able to join us from Nova Scotia.

Congratulations Wilder Nightingale Fine Art in Taos

I am very happy to be represented in Taos by Wilder Nightingale Fine Art and the gallery was just voted 2010 People's Choice for Best Gallery in Taos. Congratulations Rob Wilder Nightingale;
I think your gallery is the most beautiful, with the most fabulous art and the People of Taos have confirmed that opinion.