Tuesday, 22 July 2014

 PAINTS - Part I

So I'm going to be talking about some of my favourite paints, in a couple of follow-up posts.

These are my essentials. If I start running out of one of these I panic a little! I'm pretty sure that if I have these 5, and primary colours, I can make magic. I have to admit I've been on a Reeves high for a while, I love the consistency combined with the richness in colour. But mostly you have to take into consideration price and availability - my all time favourite brand used to be Daler-Rowney's System 3, but there's only one store in my general area that stocks them, and that store is about 40min away.. so it just doesn't happen. Reeves is not just excellent, but I can also find them in most Stationary/Craft stores as well as the actual Art shop's that I normally frequent. When I do go there (the 40 min away shop) I stock up, but since they're also a little more expensive, and they wouldn't count as essentials anyway, they're a little lower down on the list. There isn't going to be a lot of Amsterdam on the list, since I'm still getting to know them, and most of the shades in their sample pack aren't shades I use super often, it's going to take a little longer to get to know them. 
So the 5 are Raw Umber, Mars Black, Titanium White, Red Ochre and Yellow Ochre. 


My essentials for gray are the same, except obviously red ochre. I tend to use Yellow Ochre, Mars Black and Titanium White, but not too heavy on the yellow, just enough to give it a bit of a green tone, it really enriches the overall tone of the painting, instead of a flat gray. Raw Umber is in there because I'll add a little now and then just to change things up, otherwise too much of the same creates a flatness again. Incidentally these are also the colours I would use for gold or yellow copper, just in different amounts.


My must-have reds.. Reds can be very complex, and can make or break - for me anyway. Brilliant Red is a nice orangy red, tomato-esque, and to make us love it more it has a lovely glossy finish - most Reeves do. Rose Madder is the pinker equivalent. System 3's Crimson is very close to Rose Madder and used to be just about my favourite tube of paint, but I haven't been able to find any for a while.. Lukas is new in town, and I'm still slowly moving through their colours, experimenting as I go, but they seem to be very close to System 3, only a little bit thinner. This is their Cadmium Red deep, and it falls nicely in between Brilliant Red and Rose Madder, not overwhelmingly orange or pink. And then we have the Zelcryls, my only local paint, but I love them to bits. Their Pyrrole Red Deep is thick and intense, and super colour-fast, you can put a stroke of that over black and it'll still be bright! Zelcryl's Naphthole Red leans towards Brilliant Red's oranger tone, but even oranger. And just as thick and lovely as Pyrrole. But these don't compare to Alizarin Crimson. It's the only paint I've ever found in that exact rich shade, it's super thick, so you have to work it a little, I tend to use it along with a little Reeves to even out the texture. It is matt, very plum, and quite awesome.
I know in terms of Red this is overkill, if I only had one or two of these, I could make it work, but this IS an indulgence. Along with these I use Red Ochre and Burnt Umber (Reeves) without fail to darken. 


Truth is, there was a System 3 flesh tone that I used to use ALL THE TIME when I did portraits in like 2004 or whenever that was, but the only way I can fabricate it is by mixing Reeve's Flesh, Zelcryls Naples Yellow and a little Red Ochre. So if I can be completely honest I've only done caucasian portraits recently, I think these shades would go far, but I would add a Blue tone I was going very dark. To me the key to painting skin is layering, if you stop and analyse just a small area on your cheek, you'll find that there are sooo many subtle differences, its a playground for a painter!

That's all for now, bare with me, I'll go more in depth as we progress!

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