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Old 05-14-2017, 11:09 AM
JDawg_97 JDawg_97 is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Bart & stape thank you so much for your input my studio work has hit a wall no doubt especially when trying to paint from imagination my guess is I haven't enough experience to do such a thing yet I need to get out in the field & do some good old fashioned value & color matching & also I struggle in the studio to keep a loose impressionistic style (which is what I would like to achieve) so I know I'll be forced in the fast changing light conditions to keep a loose style hopefully within the next month or two (if I can save enough money) I'll go out on my first venture
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:39 AM
bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

I'm going to disagree (but not be disagreeable with Stapeliad on media.
Whatever medium is your most comfortable one for studio work is likely to help you make the jump to plein air most easily. That's not based on the qualities of the medium so much as on your comfort and skill.

Frankly, I suspect that all the oil painters here are going to steer you toward oil, but I would not do so unless you are very comfortable in oils. Nor would I steer you toward watercolor, as that is intimidating to artists not skilled in them.

Acrylics are fine for plein air as long as you do two things: 1) keep them moist; 2) pick those that don't dry too fast. For the former, a simple spritzer and a home-made "wet palette" will do you well. For the latter, I still recommend Chroma Atelier Interactive Acrylics and Liquitex blending medium.

If you are worried about adjusting to the outdoors and you can draw, start with watercolor pencils plus a water brush or pastel pencils. Either will give you great versatility to adjust to conditions, they're compact and not messy, and they can actually be used together to great effect.

In fact, since cost may be an issue, you can start that way with cheap student grade sets, inexpensive watercolor paper, and whatever bag or pouch you may already have on hand. Your lap and your imagination is the rest.

My plein air group has all media, including even a collagist once! But even our highly skilled oil painters have often adapted to acrylics for plein air instead, particularly to use their great advantage in drying quickly between glazes/layers AND because they are extremely forgiving; you can paint out or over any "mistakes" immediately.

BTW, you can take your initial work back to your studio to continue working on it. There is no law that says it can only be done in one sitting. So your studio skill will not be lost, but you will add to it a world (literally) of inspiration on which you can draw.

Last edited by bartc : 05-14-2017 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:37 AM
JDawg_97 JDawg_97 is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Thank you Bart & I agree I believe I'll be able to make acrylics work in my favor I can't wait for the day 😄 I believe I've decided to use the chroma interactive acrylics & I think I'm gonna use the split primary palette with white & maybe one earth tone.. I've noticed using the basic cad red medium cad yellow medium & ultramarine blue I have a hard time getting brilliant greens I can only get them so high in value before it's just yellow.. I'm gonna experiment with simply adding white we'll see what happens
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:23 AM
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stapeliad stapeliad is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Add a cerulean to your palette, and a magenta.

A standard pthalo blue might not be as strong in acrylic but... if you can find prussian blue go with that instead. or Cobalt. A cad yellow light, yellow ochre, ultramarine, and a cerulean will give you a good range of greens. Get single pigments if possible, especially in acrylic, because they will give you brighter cleaner mixes. You will see the pigment codes listed on the back of the tube.
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Old 05-15-2017, 04:46 PM
bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDawg_97
Thank you Bart & I agree I believe I'll be able to make acrylics work in my favor I can't wait for the day 😄 I believe I've decided to use the chroma interactive acrylics & I think I'm gonna use the split primary palette with white & maybe one earth tone.. I've noticed using the basic cad red medium cad yellow medium & ultramarine blue I have a hard time getting brilliant greens I can only get them so high in value before it's just yellow.. I'm gonna experiment with simply adding white we'll see what happens
Cad yellow has an orange shift and ultramarine blue has a purplish shift. Adding them grays out a bit.

Cad yellow or azo (lemon) yellow and cobalt make strong bright greens.
Yellow and black also make greens, but darker.

Adding white tends to tint things down as well as lightening them, so your saturation strength starts to dissipate. This gets you lighter rather than "brighter".

Gotta tell ya that mixing greens is actually not easy.

Stapeliad is correct in that the purer (single pigment) colors are easier to work with. Again, you can learn to read this pretty quickly from the labels.

Please do spend some time on Youtube looking at color mixing videos. They will save you some trouble and money.
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:12 PM
Idaho_Clint Idaho_Clint is offline
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Smile Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

I just don't know how to effectively paint with acrylics in plein air. But then, I'm an oil painter who spends hours mixing tones, as bartc noted. That said, I love many of the acrylics I've seen, I just have zero idea of how to technically do it. Many years ago I would spend weekends camping to do plein air with my high school art teacher, and we'd use acrylics, but I'd do wash paintings as if using water colors. I did this for many hours. Still I don't know how to do it. A note on the often highly controversial and often confusing subject of warm/cool tones of the primaries. Cool yellows? Wha? Warm blues? Huh? Simplify it. First, when you're starting out, this discussion doesn't matter. Just try different yellows. Try different blues. Use different reds. I use a minimal palette, so those three colors, plus brown and white are all I ever use. Again keep it simple, I say. Second, which yellow, blue and red you choose is largely taste. Pick one and try it. Pick another after that and try that. See what works for YOU. Third, when it comes to determining whether a yellow is warm or cool, it's really, really hard. Let's take cool yellows. What's that all about? Well, let's make this theoretical to simplify it. Most of the discussion about warm/cool primaries is either theoretical or a matter of personal taste/observation anyway. But, that is not to deny there is a physical component to this. So, think of the color yellow as having a pure tone (forget about hansa, cadmium or lemon yellows, those are brand names given to tubes of yellow tones). This pure tone is equal-distant from the green secondary to the cool side, and the orange tone to the warm side. This hypothetical pure yellow is exactly, precisely in the middle. Stray to the green, and you have a cool yellow. Stray to the orange, and you have warm yellow. That's really it. It's that simple.... And that hard. Because almost no one (manufacturers or artists) agree on exactly how to classify each tone. Not so much that they don't agree in life, but just in words. My advice? Don't worry about the cool/warm thing. Pick the thing that works for you. If you like a certain painter, do some research, see what brands of paints and colors and paintbrushes they use and just try to copy them. Steal their ideas. Once you've mastered their technique, adjust to your own sensibilities and now you are a master in your own right. Don't complicate things. Do research. Copy those you revere. Be the master of your own domain. Be comfortable with your choices, some of which may be subconscious and not deliberate. That's my advice. But I'm not as wise or experienced as others here, I plainly admin--no pun intended.
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:56 PM
old_hobbyist old_hobbyist is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Lotsa sage advice here. IMHO way too much tho. As an acrylic ptr, JDawg 97, you already know the mantra - acrylics dry fast and you can't blend. And you already know about spraying and spritzing and about mounding rather than spreading the paint and so on.

I've been painting acrylics outdoors (only the elite call it PLEIN AIR) for about 40 yrs. That's long before all the new paints like open and retarders and such.

According to some real PA pros, you have about 5-7 min to capture lites and shadows before someone moves the sun! And according to another batch of PA pros, what you get down in the first 10 min will be with you to the end! Hey, acrylics are designed to do just that! After those times, the paint is dry. Ain't no WET-ON-WET anything in acrylics!

Before I give you my IMHO regarding equipment, let me urge you to STOP your research. Grab a handful of tubes (of any and all colors), a canvas panel (not stretched canvas), a couple of brushes, and something to prop your canvas on, and walk outside! That's where outdoor painting takes place. Really! Your challenge will NOT be the paint. It will be mother nature who refuses to leave clouds or water or the setting sun alone!

What about equipment, you ask. Pros will tell you that you gotta buy the most expensive paints viz, 2 oz cerulean blue @ $15), the most expensive brushes viz, a #6 flat mongoose hair @ $45), a ritzy pochade (viz, $400), or a French easel (viz, $500). An inexpensive camera tripod and an inexpensive paint box (try ebay) will suffice as will some of your studio brushes and acrylics. When I go business tripping, I take a couple of brushes, a couple of 8 x 10 canvas boards, and a bunch of Reeves 0.4 oz tubes. I'm not really concerned with spot on accuracy. I just wanna see if I can capture the beauty of nature.

One of the keys to outdoor painting is portability. The lighter your rig and the quicker you can set it up, the happier you will be. You will thank me for this tip the first time you're caught in the rain some distance from your vehicle.

Oh, I did mention canvas panels. Get cheap ones - 8 x 10, 9 x 12. Called student economy. Why? I hate to be the bringer of bad news but essentially all outdoor paintings are either precursors to larger studio ptgs or candidates for paint-overs. This includes most pro artist efforts. And why so small? Time is of the essence. Plus in sudden wind gusts it is far easier to control a teeny canvas than a large one that wants to become truly airborne.

Outdoor painting began to take hold when oils were available as tubed paints. Monet is often given credit for having inspired his generation to go outside. But keep in mind that Monet would paint the same scene (viz, haybales) on simultaneous canvases over several days. That way he could guarantee the light would be correct for each of the canvases. Most outdoor painters eschew this level of PLEIN AIR-ing.

Oh, and one more comment. Somebody mentioned Bansemer as a PA painter. Not true. He considers himself an outdoor painter. He spends several studio hours "filling in the details." How do I know? He lived in the neighborhood. We painted together until he and his wife got the wanderlust a decade or so back.
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Old 05-22-2017, 07:37 PM
bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

I'm going to disagree a bit with Old-Hobbyist.
You CAN blend in acrylics if you use Liquitex Blending Medium.
Where I agree with OH is that all you need to do is take the minimum of stuff outdoors to start. You do NOT need expensive stuff. Forget trying to paint for the ages, just get your butt out there and paint with anything at hand on anything at hand. When you have more skill, money and most of all real need of equipment, then you invest. That way you don't waste time or money.
Just go paint already. It's easier than it sounds and it's a lot of fun.
You say you want inspiration and you will certainly find it if you look outdoors.
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Old 05-22-2017, 11:09 PM
old_hobbyist old_hobbyist is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

bartc, my box of Reeves doesn't have any blending medium. And neither does Liquitex big box of 48 0.75 oz tubes (which, BTW, are of ideal size for outdoor painting.) Sure there are plenty of tricks with retarders and blenders and glazing media galore. But the objective of outdoor painting in acrylics is to paint quickly with a very limited palette. Best leave the nuances for the studio where the sun never sets, it never rains and the mosquitos rarely bite.
Oh, and one more tip. It's called the MOSES syndrome. Many wannabe PLAIN AIR artists wander all across the landscape looking for the absolutely perfect spot to paint. Outdoor painters on the other hand, find a spot in a flash and are nearly finished painting before the Moses clan have found that perfect place.
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Old 05-24-2017, 03:34 PM
bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Quote:
Originally Posted by old_hobbyist
bartc, my box of Reeves doesn't have any blending medium. And neither does Liquitex big box of 48 0.75 oz tubes (which, BTW, are of ideal size for outdoor painting.) Sure there are plenty of tricks with retarders and blenders and glazing media galore. But the objective of outdoor painting in acrylics is to paint quickly with a very limited palette. Best leave the nuances for the studio where the sun never sets, it never rains and the mosquitos rarely bite.
Oh, and one more tip. It's called the MOSES syndrome. Many wannabe PLAIN AIR artists wander all across the landscape looking for the absolutely perfect spot to paint. Outdoor painters on the other hand, find a spot in a flash and are nearly finished painting before the Moses clan have found that perfect place.
Yes, you have to buy blending medium by itself, but I find most big box and online art supply stores carry it. Since you haven't used it, you won't know how much it permits that oil-like nuanced effect until you try it. It's quite good. It's much better than any of the retarders, IME.

Yes, I'm often finished with my painting while others are blending their colors. That's partly because I don't like going back over my work in the studio at all. Just a personal preference.

We all practice our art differently. In my case and many of my partners, we can get a lot of nuance into our work out there. The difference between this and studio oils is that you can't obsess over it forever. That does not preclude subtlety, or nuance, or sublimity. Some of my painting partners work in oils and do excellent work rather quickly, so it's not exclusive to any medium I can see. Key is to get out and try things.

I am not into photo-realism, so I'm not fussing so much. I grew up with studio painters and saw how long and how much they fussed over their work. Wouldn't be any fun for me so I work differently.

PDawg needs to get out there and get used to it. Frankly, I'd recommend that he (is he a he?) not wait for the money he thinks this will cost. Rather, he should grab a pen or pencil and any paper around, walk outside and start trying out sketching. Then he can add any medium on any cheap support he has already handy, just hauling around a folding chair without an easel or all the paraphernalia. Then add what makes sense as money and interest allows. This is supposed to be fun.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:28 PM
bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Old hobbyist, you have to buy such mediums separately. Liquitex Blending Medium is often carried by the big box art supply stores and certainly online.
Not sure why you think you can't get the nuance and subtlety outdoors with acrylics. Let me assure you that you CAN do that and many of my painting buddies do it. Same for oil that some of them use successfully outdoor. Must be the result of practice, I'd guess.

Yes, the MOSES deal you describe is common. I don't suffer from it. I'm often completing my painting while some of my companions are just getting their colors mixed.

JDawg, what you need to do, if you'll pardon my butting in with advice, is to forget about waiting for enough money to buy stuff. Go outdoors with any common pencil, pen or crayon and any paper you have handy and start sketching in that situation. Then add any medium and cheap support you have available. When you are comfortable with that, you can add other stuff as needed. All you need is a place to sit, so you don't necessarily even have to haul a folding chair!

As they say in the commercial, "Just go do it!"
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Old 05-26-2017, 12:30 PM
JDawg_97 JDawg_97 is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

Idaho Clint old hobbyist & Bart (I think I've got you all covered) thank you SO MUCH for all of your input & oddly enough through the encouragement of a local artist & the fact I found some on clearance at Michaels I have decided to at least attempt to oil paint I firmly believe that oils are what I need to take my painting to the next level as I am a very meticulous person and will particularly enjoy not having to rush my skies anymore and really develop my clouds. HOWEVER this is not to say I am giving up acrylics at all I shall continue to explore BOTH mediums & Bart I sure am going to get out there asap especially now that I have some oils to try out but even if I don't do that at the very least do some sketching your words have been very encouraging (as a side note I am a he lol) If I ever become famous I will track you all down & send you a free painting thank you all so much for your input
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Old 05-26-2017, 12:33 PM
JDawg_97 JDawg_97 is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

My goodness and stapeliad I believe I've missed you thank you very much for your input on colors
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Old 05-26-2017, 05:09 PM
DaveCrow DaveCrow is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

JDawg the most important thing is to get out there and paint outside!

It has its own unique challenges regardless of medium, but also has a lot of reward.
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Old 05-26-2017, 05:12 PM
bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Plein Air Limited Palette

I"m going to hold you to that free painting when you're famous.
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