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Old 05-06-2017, 05:49 PM
JDawg_97 JDawg_97 is offline
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Plein Air Limited Palette

I'm sure there are dozens of forums on this but I wanted some fresh input for a fresh forum anyhow what sort of limited palettes do you guys use for plein air painting.. be sure to perhaps include your style of painting & maybe some specifics you use for different seasons.. I for one have NEVER painted en plein air.. I'm trying to gather all the information I can before I go out for the first time (also don't have the money/supplies).. I look very much forward to all of your input
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Old 05-07-2017, 04:53 AM
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

I use a sketchpad, small palette and a waterbrush and paint pen and wash watercolour sketches.

Best to get a simple kit together and go into the garden to test it out. You will soon find out what is the bare minimum you need.

What medium are you using?

PS OK I checked your profile and realise you work in acrylics. Essential you take a spray bottle to keep your paints moist, they dry very quickly on the palette. Roger Bansemer has a youtube channel showing his setup and technique.

Here's a demo of his acrylic technique.

Doug
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:08 AM
bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Pen, pencil and paper is the start.
I started my travel kit with a pocket sized inexpensive Cottman 12 color watercolor half block set and a small pad of watercolor paper. Since I was traveling around on my mountain bike, I already had a water bottle handy. That's all it took, period!
Later I added various brushes, pens, pencils and other media, a water bottle and pads of paper and fit them all in a fanny pack. So that is my complete travel studio now that I take all over the world and it's highly versatile, light enough to not be a pain, small enough to fit in carry-on and bother hauling on my butt all day. There are six media in that package!
All you need is any one medium you like, a support (paper, etc.), and your lap. The rest is up to your imagination.
The difference between plein air and studio is the effect of changing light and heat/humidity conditions. You can start en plein air and refine as long as you like back home in the studio. I happen to prefer alla prima, so I do the whole thing at one sitting outdoors, and that's with any medium. Watercolors, ink and wash, pastel pencil, etc. tend to take me 20-40 minutes; acrylics take about 1 - 2 hours, but that's just my speed. I paint a mix of Impressionist, Expressionist and illustration styles of realiistic subjects. But the painting group I organize does all media at all levels of skill and styles with most finishing in 2-3 hours that day.
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Old 05-07-2017, 12:25 PM
JDawg_97 JDawg_97 is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

That's awesome input Yorky & Bart.. I fully expect to fall in love with plein air painting.. & yes you're right I use acrylic I intend on using Golden Open acrylics.. if you get the chance google Jeremy Sams.. he's a landscape painter from North Carolina & he uses Golden Open acrylics in plein air & WOW he creates some stunning works he is certainly no small part in inspiring me to do some plein air work with acrylics I can't wait to save up the money to buy the paints needed.. keep it coming guys !
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Old 05-07-2017, 12:56 PM
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

I have plein air painted a few times with Golden Opens. They dry quickly when exposed to sun or WIND. You will still need a spray bottle. I like ultra blue, Hansa yellow opaque, quinacridone red, transparent red oxide and titanium white. Gary
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Old 05-07-2017, 07:12 PM
bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

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Originally Posted by JDawg_97
I intend on using Golden Open acrylics..
Before you invest in Golden Open, take a look at Chroma Atelier Interactive acrylics. They work better than Golden Open for keeping them wet and re-opening them (with their Unlocking Medium if necessary too.)
I've started using a Sta-wet palette, BTW. That's another trick for keeping the paints malleable in dry conditions. And I also use a spray bottle for water.
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:25 PM
JDawg_97 JDawg_97 is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Trikist thank you for your input & Bart I can NOT make a decision on this I've heard good & bad about both I just don't know what to do :/ .... as a side note if any kind person would like to make some commentary on the applications of a palette consisting of a warm & cool of each primary plus white it would be much appreciated or perhaps some other already established resource
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:19 AM
bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDawg_97
Trikist thank you for your input & Bart I can NOT make a decision on this I've heard good & bad about both I just don't know what to do :/ .... as a side note if any kind person would like to make some commentary on the applications of a palette consisting of a warm & cool of each primary plus white it would be much appreciated or perhaps some other already established resource
You might want to see if you can inexpensively buy a sample of each and try that. All acrylics will mix with each other, so you won't lose out monetarily, as they're both usable. The only caution is that when you mix types you will dilute the impact or characteristics, so if you mix they might not dry as you would expect each of them separately to do.

As to the color palette you mention, you can look up a gazillion of these on the web and especially Youtube and see what people are telling you. Also look up the Zorn palette, so you can see just how much you actually can do with even fewer colors!

I consider a warm and cool set of primaries, plus white, black and burnt umber to be plenty to work with. But the choice of which particular pigment is yours alone and only experimentation can tell you which you prefer.

Be aware of the power of glazing. If you want color that is stronger, but subtler at the same time, this particular technique in any medium will be your bet, rather than simply tinting with white. Also be aware that black pigments tend to actually be intense blue, which you find out when you mix them with white or other primaries. If you want to darken a yellow color you actually mix with burnt umber (or other brown) instead.

In the end you must learn by trying yourself. And I'd suggest if you are learning color mixing with acrylics that you do it indoors or use a slow drying one if you also intend to paint. Acrylics dry faster than oils; oil painters spend hours mixing colors before applying them to the painting, which requires sloooowwwww drying times. Oil painters who switch to acrylics for plein air are often taken by surprise that this technique doesn't translate well out there in the wild.
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:24 PM
DaveCrow DaveCrow is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

A note on paintingg plein air with acrylics, I have done it a little and even with a Sta-Wet pallete and frequent misting with a spray bottle they dry very fast! There are a number of very successful plain air painters who work in acrylics, so it can give good results. I was pleased with mine. Just be aware of the quicker drying out in the field.

A split-primary palette plus black and white is a good place to start. I would recomend practicing colour mixing in the studio so that you can do it quickly in the field. I find black to be very useful for mixing with yellow to get greens.
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:56 PM
JDawg_97 JDawg_97 is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Bart I believe based off of your words I will try atelier chroma interactive acrylics so let's hope for the best.. & Dave crow thank you for your input I am determined to make acrylics have a good name like I said google the plein air works of Jeremy Sams in acrylics he does an amazing job & he uses golden opens so we shall see what works better in the end.. what exactly is the purpose of having cool & warm? Use cool in background & warm in foreground? I haven't seen a good explanation as to the actual purpose of having a cool and warm of each
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:55 PM
bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

JDawg, you need to look up the color palette more on the web and take a look at Youtube vids. In the end, all reds are not alike, all blues, etc. While the color you see unmixed looks one way, mixed with different pigments it comes out quite different. For example, in some brands Pthalo Blue looks very blue, but as soon as it's mixed with white you get a greenish tint (unless it says specifically that it's a red hue version.) Color theory is deep stuff and pigments are yet another big deal. So instead of fussing with the theory and getting confused at first, just try them out and see how that works. The split palette is classic for a reason.

Take a look at some Will Kemp videos about acrylic colors and mixing: https://www.youtube.com/user/willkempartschool

Meantime, I'm given to understand that Open is a very slow drying acrylic medium, which once dried doesn't reopen or rewet. Interactive is a regular speed drying medium that can be kept open longer with water and can even be reopened after drying on surface days later using the unlocking medium.

I stretch both the drying time and the blending effects using half regular medium and half Liquitex Blending Medium to mix with my paint.

Outdoors acrylic in dry warm weather is going to dry faster, but in cool or damp weather it will dry much more slowly. I've experienced both and worked around both. You just have to practice and be aware.

I had one day painting in foggy weather when my Interactives seemed to take forever to dry! Really made me laugh.

Don't get bogged down with too much info. Just go out and paint and experiment.

Last edited by bartc : 05-08-2017 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:23 AM
JDawg_97 JDawg_97 is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Bart I really appreciate it man this is an AWESOME community of artists I really feel at home here cause see I have no real life painter friends so it is very refreshing to come here & talk with people that share your passion & very soon I intend to finally get the supplies & get out in the field & paint away this will be a summer of incredible growth!! Keep the advice coming guys
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:58 AM
bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

JDawg, just remember that people have been painting with nothing more than some crushed earth or colored rocks and oil rendered from cooking fat since about 40,000 years ago. Vegetable matter and fish and insects ground into pigments. Wax, eggs, milk, water, plaster and oil as binders. While you can screw up the mixes and have stuff that doesn't last, most of the time following simple advice gets you where you want to go. OK, so maybe everything isn't going to hang in the Louvre, so what?

The best advice I can give you is to buy some paper strong enough to handle water media and use a lot to experiment. That way you don't care and you don't hesitate. You don't need expensive paper, BTW. You can paint acrylics on all kinds of surfaces: wood, tile, ceramics, paper, canvas, fabric, some metals. So you can even have fun seeing what you can do decoratively if that's your bent.

You are blessed to live in the era of the Web. You can view endless sites for inspiration and instruction. You can share ideas and ask questions. You don't have to be around other artists to do your stuff, but if you ask around more you might be surprised at how many people dabble.

Just go paint.

I grew up in a family with a number of artists and master craftsmen. Since they all painted, I didn't, intimidated I suppose. But I did always draw. Didn't take up any painting until dabbling in my 20s and didn't try acrylics until 30. Have loved painting in various media ever since and wish I had been more open to it when I was your age. Those lovely summers without care would have been filled with creativity.

Go paint, amigo!
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Old 05-12-2017, 11:13 AM
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Congrats on being hit with the plein air bug!

You have gotten some great suggestions and advice... I'll just say that acrylic of any kind would not be my recommendation for starting out in plein air. you might fight with it.

Now, I *have* seen acrylic plein air work that is very good, but all of it has come from people who were experienced plein airers (is that a word?)
The reason I don't recommend it is you'll be fighting with your palette drying out too much.

Watercolor is fantastic, but have you considered oils? You can do everything you need literally with six tubes of paint. You won't have to worry about your palette drying out and re-mixing... time is really crucial when you are out there, and even if you are an experienced studio painter, when you go plein airing for the first several times you'll feel like you have been transported to an alien planet... it really is that different.

I also love pastel for plein air (and in studio) but where pastels are concerned the more the merrier, so there is that to consider. For efficiency and lack of fighting with your materials, go with oil or watercolor.

A watercolor setup is probably easier than an oil setup since it is more compact.

Beware the bug never goes away, you are infected for life- and you are at risk for really strange situations, bugs in your paintings, forgetting gear that you need, making terrible paintings in public while everyone is watching, unanticipated pets, surprise thunderstorms, stupid stupid stupid wind, and you will love every second of it.
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Old 05-12-2017, 11:29 AM
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Palette colors: this will work with oil or acrylic.
In my experience you are much better off getting single pigment acrylics.
I have some multi-pigment golden opens I got in a set and they mix so differently- I don't even use them. I have Golden regulars and a bunch of Golden Opens but I really stick to the single pigments only.

I find this less of a challenge in oils but for the most part I think most of my plein air oils are probably single pigments too.

I recommend:

absolute basics:

*Titanium white
*a magenta of some kind
*yellow ochre
*a hansa yellow or cadmium yellow lt but hansa is cheaper
*Transparent red oxide (you NEED an earth red) OR Burnt Sienna
*Ultramarine
*cobalt OR cerulean OR Gamblin's manganese hue

ok that's 7 tubes, not 6 I always forget to count white since it is a default tube.

Here are my add-on optionals:

*a dark red- (anthraquinone)
(I like quinacridone red too)
*mars black
*cobalt turquoise (PG50) because turquoise makes everything better

As far as oil brand I would go with Gamblin (their artist range) and the Blick brand artist range (which really is Sennelier). Rembrandt also makes fantastic paint. All of these are good quality paints that are well-priced. Get a LARGE tube of titanium white.

Oh, and leave the pthalo blue and all greens at home.
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Last edited by stapeliad : 05-12-2017 at 11:33 AM.
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