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October 10, 2020


Thanks, Beth! That was me who asked about your palette. I've been experimenting and making some color charts so I have some of those colors and you use a few I haven't tried. I plan to do some painting in a technique that a local artist started here called "vitreous Flux" so I'm working on finding colors that mix well together because there is a lot of flow and mixing. So far I don't care for the colors that seem to have white in them, naples yellow and cerulean blue, but I love the phthalo blues and the clear hues. Mostly Daniel Smith paints right now since when I opened my old paint box half of them were solid and I had to buy new tubes.
I have the same palette.
Still looking for a color mix I did in a class years ago I can't seem to come up with again, a lovely shade of turquoise. Hope this gets me through a long winter here in NH.

In our hallway hangs a print of Vermeer's The Little Street, VR's favourite painting above all others. I fear she would kill to own it. The print was expensive, the sort our most prominent galleries (Tate, National, Dulwich) sell from their shops. This means its colour representation is as accurate as is possible (probably by Lund Humphries in my home town, a specialist in this kind of work) and the colours only fade gradually. Not surprisingly, I too have been drawn into its charmed circle and exposed to its technical magic. Not least in the way the brick structure of the house is rendered, which I think links up with the subject of your post - an impressionistic way of painting nature without simultaneously traducing the subject.

What could be be simpler than painting a brick wall?The bricks are reddish, the mortar whitish. Stand a metre away (our narrow hallway limits any more distant viewpoint) and one may confirm that this is indeed a traditionally built brick wall. Move nearer and the magic starts; the lines of mortar seem to be casually painted, without regard for thickness or colour consistency, almost as an afterthought. Stare on and you start to realise that there are large areas where Vermeer fails to show any lines of mortar at all. Yet the mortar is there because the wall continues to stand. The reason is obvious: in these areas the mortar has been weathered to the point where the white is closer to the red in the colour spectrum. Even so, to exclude all traces of the mortar seems a gigantic step in confidence and AWARENESS - awareness of what the viewer will see when standing at the optimimum point for what is a large painting. Move back to the other side of the hallway and this is confirmed.

A very small point I suppose. Don't necessarily paint what is there, only paint what is seen. Allow for how other eyes will respond. Basic stuff for you, a painter. Magic for me.

Hi Sharyn, Glad to see that you saw this post! When I've tried to reply to you before using your email address listed with the comment, it always gets returned so I'm never sure if you've seen my replies. Anyway, for turquoise, I use a blend of viridian and cerulean and it's gorgeous. I wouldn't be able to manage without the particular shade that is cerulean blue, though I agree with you that for mixing colors and most uses other than skies, the transparent pigments of cobalt and ultramarine blue are a lot better. Indanthrone blue is also very useful and I've come to prefer it to the pthalo blues which are so staining. I mostly use Daniel Smith watercolors, like you, plus some Winsor Newton and I have a few odd tubes of Rembrandt. I'm dreading the long winter of isolation here in Canada, and like you I'm hoping that these vibrant colors will help!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.