I know this week I promised to talk about student grade paint compared to artist paint, but I wanted to showcase one of my more recent paintings, Scarlet Red. The reasoning behind this decision is that this particular painting is a good example of how the paper, paint, and brushes I use in my own work come across.
The paper used for Scarlet Red is what we call hot press 140#. Not necessarily an easy paper to work with as it has a very smooth texture, which means that if you’re not careful your paint can easily run. I personally love this paper, the smooth quality just works for me. In this painting, you will notice there is no texture showing from the paper, which allows for soft edges. The benefits of this feature can be seen in the naturalness of the white soft snow. I couldn’t create this softness with rough paper, but as an alternative, maybe with cold press paper.
Paper is only one-third of the equation here. The brushes I choose are all-natural bristle, which I prefer to synthetic, as they hold a lot more water and paint. This is key for me when I work, as I can create continuous even brush strokes without rough edges, and can capture the warmth and softness. Looking at the painting, you’ll see this method used in the sky and the barn.
The paint I use is the last third of the equation. Most of the time the brand paint is a personal preference. I have a big pallet and if I am not using fresh tube paint, I am drowning my paint in water to really activate the pigment. This is a must or I can’t achieve the rich colors I have in the painting.
Together, all three of these elements help me capture the warmth of the winter setting. My pallet colors are limited to four colors that balance well and offer a strong contrast which makes painting winter scenes a lot of fun. The white and blues make the red pop making my subject stand out and the brown I chose, sepia, adds the warmthness and darkness I need. This is a fun subject to paint and a lot of fun to look at.
I promise next week I will talk about the different grade paints that you can choose!