Baby Chicks, Oil Painting, & Thoughts on Being Creative

Hello creative Friends!

I hope today finds you well and happy. This week has been a little crazy around here.

We hatched our first batch of baby chicks for the year, and though we are not new to the process, it’s still a little nerve-wracking every time we set eggs.

We also tried out a new incubator which added to the drama. Would it turn the eggs properly? Would it keep the eggs at the proper temperature? Too hot? Too cold? Humid enough? Not humid enough?

To us a new hatch usually means interrupted sleep, hyper-vigilance over the incubator, witnessing the first pip, and the occasional rescue of a shrink-wrapped chick… Get the picture?

Think “maternal instincts on steroids”!

PHEW!

I am delighted to report that as of this morning we have added 9 little peepers to our menagerie!

So CUTE!!!

I don’t know about you, but when I have too many irons in the fire, I tend to lose my creative energy!

But now that the chicks have been moved to the brooder and are settling in, I was able to spend some time in the studio experimenting with water mixable oils.

Being more familiar with pastel and watercolor painting, I decided to take it slowly. For me, that means COLOR MIXING.

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

(Color swatches with a black check next to them are the closest to matching the paint sample.)

I decided to start by gathering paint chips from my local hardware and big box stores. If you try this exercise, be sure to pick a variety of chips to include the major color families (hue), as well as lighter and darker versions of each color (value), and purer vs. grayer versions of each color (intensity). The best part is that they are FREE!

Next, using a limited palette of titanium white, permanent yellow light, ultramarine blue, permanent alizarin crimson, and burnt umber, I worked to match each paint chip’s hue, value, and intensity.

Essentially, I wanted to see if I could get close to mixing most colors from just these five.

Why?

Because it would be less confusing at first and it would teach me not only the possibilities, but also the limitations of a primary palette. (A primary palette is one consisting of a single yellow, blue, and red. White is for tinting and the burnt umber is for creating shades.)

Now, I knew going in that I would eventually be using a split primary palette (one with a warm and cool version of each primary color) like I use when I am painting in watercolor, but like I said, I needed this to be less confusing at first. 🙂

So looking at the pics above, these 4 chips were mixed using the colors of my primary palette. I did lots of these matching exercises, and I have to say it was fun in almost a meditative way.

It was also very enlightening because eventually I came across colors I just couldn’t match using this palette of colors.

  • That’s when I added in a warmer red (Pyrrol red, Royal Talens’ Cobra brand).
  • I also switched out burnt umber for burnt sienna (more orangey and just as capable of giving me a dark value when mixed with the ultramarine.)
  • So far, the permanent yellow light (Cobra brand) is working for all my warm and cool mixes.
  • I am also trying out adding in titanium buff when I don’t want my color to be lightened AND cooled like it would be using titanium white.
  • And the verdict is not in yet as to what other blue I would add in addition to the ultramarine.

I foresee that there will be times when these few colors will just NEVER give me the color I may need–think very intense, highly saturated (aka high chroma) color.

And that’s when I would pull out tubes with specialty colors.

Alas, my color mixing adventure will continue for a while to come. That’s ok. I have a lot of work to do in this area!


In my latest Instagram post I briefly write about being creative. Please check it out and follow me if you haven’t already! Click here to view today’s oil study and leave me a like and/or a comment with your thoughts.

Thanks for taking the time to read my latest musings. May you be well and filled with creative musings of your own in the days ahead!

Till next time,

~R

Fresh Off The Easel!

Hello everyone!

I wanted to share a new pastel painting with you. The subject: bluebird!

I just LOVE bluebirds. In my neck of the woods, we see them only occasionally. So it’s a real treat when we discover a pair building a nest or moving into one of the many bird houses we provide. 🙂

As usual, below are some of the progress shots involved with this painting.

Enjoy and Happy Spring!

“Bluebird” 6×8 inches, assorted soft pastels

Until next time…

~R

P.S. Follow me on Instagram for other sneak peeks!