Saturday 2 April 2016

Dog Project Watercolour - Part 1 - Colour Plans

3 months ago, when 2016 was very new, a very dear friend of mine sadly lost his much-loved dog (hereafter known as Dog) to old age. Losing a friend is always hellishly painful, no matter how many legs they have, and watching someone you love going through that is never easy either. I've already made a canvas-transfer of a photograph of said dog taken in December but at the time promised I'd render it in charcoal for him. I tried - I've done several tinted charcoal drawings and whilst I like them, they're very "flat" - so I've decided to paint Dog for him in watercolour. A few weeks ago, I replaced the last of my lesser quality watercolours with artist quality ones from the Professional Water Colour range at Winsor and Newton. At the time, I made some colour charts of all 20 colours in my new studio-palette, so the first thing I did was to go through them to try and work out what colours to use in this painting. I want to keep it to a fairly minimal palette but as it's not going to be a literal painting of a photograph - the photo of Dog is indoors and against pretty bland backgrounds - besides anything else, I paint in a kind of impressionist way anyway - I don't aim for literal representations. I'd already decided to paint him outdoors or at least against sky. I like cobalt blue for skies as it's semi-transparent and granulates whilst also being a very beautiful blue and, of course, lifting really well to make clouds, so that was kind of a dead cert before I started.

Part of my colour charts for my professional colours

Having looked at the various greens that 178 Cobalt Blue produces, I decided there had to be some grass of some kind as they are very natural and muted greens. Cobalt Blue is a very, very pure blue on the whole - it has no green (cold) undertones and the red (warm) undertones are quite slight - so it will give lovely greens (often a bit muted) and warm wine-like purples too. I liked the idea of a sky that had some purple in it (sunset being symbolic of end-life), so I then looked at what 178 Cobalt Blue was doing with the different reds that I use. I'd already identified that 016 Aureolin and 319 Indian Yellow gave nice greens and I had one major issue I had yet to consider! Dog was kind of cream/beige in colour, so I needed a red that would produce warm but pale oranges, beige and light browns when mixed with 016 Aureolin or 319 Indian Yellow. 

At first, I had 094 Cadmium Red in my sights, but it's so intense and so very opaque - it was kind of too much. Rose reds give much cleaner purples and, of course, I do need a good clean purple for the sky - so I looked at 502 Permanent Rose but, oddly enough, 448 Opera Rose was what caught my eye in the end - it gives some lovely transparent warm oranges with both of my yellows and gives great purples with my chosen blue! That gave me a basic palette of 4 colours - 1 red, 1 blue, 2 yellow. What I now need is something to use for darking things up to make darker oranges/browns to use for shadow on Dog - I would normally use Raw Umber or Burnt Sienna but I went with 2 options in the end - both kind of unorthodox but then I don't always follow the rules ;o)
My final palette for Dog Project comprises 016 Aureolin, 319 Indian Yellow, 178 Cobalt Blue, 448 Opera Rose, 217 Indian Red and 056 Brown Madder.

From this particular manufacturer, the pigment content and properties are:
016 Aureolin (PY40 aureoline aka potassium cobaltinitrite aka cobalt yellow) - transparent, staining.
319 Indian Yellow (PO62 benzimidazoline orange H5G + PY139 isoindoline yellow) - transparent.
178 Cobalt Blue (PB28 cobalt blue aka cobalt aluminate blue spinel) - semi-transparent, granulating.
448 Opera Rose (PR122 quinacridone red) - semi-transparent.
217 Indian Red (PR101 synthetic iron oxide red) - opaque.
056 Brown Madder (PR206 quinacridone burnt scarlet) - semi-opaque, staining.

I decided that if I'm adding grass, I might need some green paint to mix into the green mixes I can make from blue and yellow, so I added two more colours to my palette:
Supplements to my palette for Dog Project: 294 Green Gold and 503 Permanent Sap Green.

294 Green Gold (PY129 irgazin yellow) - transparent.
503 Permanent Sap Green (PG36 phthalocyanine green YS + PY110 isoindolinone yellow) - transparent, staining.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. I’m not going to lie, it is often very amusing to be an experienced dog owner and trainer, and just sit back and watch new and inexperienced dog owners try to figure out how dog owning works. Most of the time it’s hilarious, and it can brighten my day, however there are people out there that take it one step further and actually try and make money off of these poor souls. See more


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