As summer heat slows everything down, 2 beauties begin to proliferate, flowers and butterflies. So many things are wilting in the heat but Black-eyed Susans are taking over the flower beds. The lantana also seems to love the heat. There among the flowers are where the butterflies are too.
Former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson is quoted as saying, “Where flowers bloom there is hope.” Letterpress Play says, “They represent joy and growth, and they bring color and wonderment to everything they touch.” Letterpress Play has a paper toy and greeting card that turns into a vase with paper flowers. 15% of proceeds they give to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. When things continue to heat up through July and into August, the flowers do give us hope.
As the butterflies flutter all around, they remind us of the cycles of life. While they are flitting around they are laying eggs so the next generation can begin the process of overeating to building a cocoon to transforming into a beautiful butterfly to giving joy. In a post about butterflies, Everyday Power. com tells us, “We can learn a lot of lessons about our own growth process from the butterfly life cycle.” That is so true.
As the summer heat drags on limiting many outdoor activities, it’s an easy thing to look out the window and marvel at the butterflies among the black-eyed Susans. It’s also a great time to paint flowers and butterflies. Not a bad idea to contemplate the cycles of life while painting the summer beauties either. And maybe wonder with hope for fall and the next cycle of life.
Mixing it up with painting can be a great way to express your creativity. It can be like foraging in the woods. Keep looking under trees, limbs, rocks and sooner or later you’ll discover something you didn’t know before. Art is like that. If one way of doing things isn’t working, find a new way. Mix it up. Blaze a new trail.
Whether you are an experienced painter exploring new techniques or a beginner looking to explore the world of art and painting, mixing it up can be a great way to take your artistic expression to the next level. Through mixing it up, you can combine different techniques, media, and textures to create something unique. This could include mixing traditional watercolor techniques with gauche, or combining different paints with colored pencil to create a work of art that’s unlike anything that already exists. Mixing it up can also help to remove any creative or technical blocks that may arise when working in one specific medium or technique. Furthermore, this creative process can help to create an environment that encourages out-of-the-box thinking and allows for the exploration of new and exciting ideas. So next time you’re feeling stuck or uninspired with your art, try mixing it up. You may be surprised at the results.
Artist/author Lisa L. Cyr, in an article for Visual Arts Passage, says “The mixed media painting speaks to an artist’s ability to see beyond limits and boundaries.” Format.com says, “When starting your first mixed media creation, feel free to be playful-and get messy!” Yes! Jump the boundaries and get messy!
The fun of creativity is unleashing it. In this painting, I decided to mix it up. It was a pale yellow waterlily. I needed some drama so I threw some in! I love drama! This painting started with graphite pencil, continued to watercolor. From there it went to colored pencil. And finally to gauche. Mixing it up sure feels good! I did jump the boundaries but I didn’t get messy. That’s next!
Mix it up! Push the boundaries! Get messy! Sounds like a plan!
Changing color or texture in a painting can change the whole mood and feel of a painting.
Setting out to change this painting of Reelfoot Lake for me, could mean adding a bit more color or more texture. If I’m channeling Bob Ross, maybe another Happy little tree! Sometimes that’s what I do for change. Other times I dive in and completely redo the whole thing. In this painting, I mostly changed the color choices and it changed the whole mood. It became more somber. Less dramatic. The same basic painting with two completely different moods. That’s part of the fun of being an artist. Changing moods is a good thing. It’s ok to be moody!
The main reason I changed this one was that I have had it for too long. It was growing moldy! It has been shown a few times with no interest. OK. It needs a change. But what kind of change? One criticism said it had too much purple. Less purple, check! The thing that had always bothered me was how the one cypress knee looked like a shark fin. No sharks in Reelfoot Lake! More cypress knees, check! But what else? Less purple and more cypress knees is not a lot of change.
With no particular direction, I began to paint. I let the mood float over me. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to what I was thinking or feeling. I just let the mood flow. I was in my studio space without any distractions that day. It was just me and the paint. We were having some good communication time. The mood was streaming right into the brush and onto the canvas. I was in the zone.
Once the new mood was complete, I stood back and looked. Usually I make frequent pauses to check how things are going. Not this time. What was inside was coming out and moving smoothly. My first thought was that this was a whole new painting. Only it wasn’t. All that was different was new paint and a new color scheme. In spite of that, there was a whole different mood that gave it the feel of a whole new painting.
As I reflected on this whole new painting, I went back in my mind to this scene at the Lake and the inlet known as Lids Pocket. When the road dead ends at the lake, this is the spot of the first glimpse of the lake. I have seen it so many times. Starting from the time I was barely old enough to hang over the front seat of the car to get a better look until now when my memory speaks louder than vision. It was an exciting view. I’d be bouncing up and down on the back seat to get to the pier so we could get a better look out over the water. There might be a heron hiding behind those trees. I was always in a hurry to find out.
The redo of this painting does not reflect the exuberance of a child. It is quiet, somber and thoughtful. As I wondered why, it hit me. This scene no longer exists. It was wiped away in the tornado. At the spot where the road mets the lake there was a quaint motel, docks for fishing and boat rental, a business office with gift shop and across the street, a restaurant. It was all in the direct line of the tornado and now it’s all gone. The trees were uprooted or sheered off. The docks were smashed to pieces. The buildings totally destroyed. And people lost their lives at this spot. I don’t recall thinking that while I was repainting. Somewhere inside I was mourning the loss of life and a beautiful spot with many happy childhood memories. Somewhere inside the feelings lurked, then surfaced into this painting. And with the feelings bubbling out, the mood changed.
A violent weather phenomenon left behind devastation. What was once a beautiful spot lives on in memory as peaceful and serene, a tribute. Proof that sometimes we are not controlling what we paint. It is out of our hands.
“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.” Pablo Picasso
Colorful Fridays has reached a turning point where the majority of single colors have been covered. Colorful Fridays will begin color mixes after recapping the colors we have covered. Here are the yellows:
“But, luckily, he kept his wits and his purple crayon.” From Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955) (from Sensationalcolor.com)
If you want to know more about this deep rich clear purple, look to the artists. Only the artists have an appreciation for this purest purple. Dioxazine Purple is a mainstay for today’s flower and nature painting but is little known outside of artsy circles. Some users of printer’s ink may have a basic knowledge of Dioxazine Purple. But to find more about Dioxazine Purple, ask the artists who know.
Liz Powley of Inspired Gumnut has most of the background scoop on Dioxazine Purple. According to Powley, Dioxazine Purple is a derivative of coal tar and was discovered by two Carls, Graebe and Glaser, in 1872. Carbazole is the extracted chemical’s name used to create this luscious, velvety purple. (Maybe they should have called it Carl-bazole??). Most makers of artist’s paint have this purple listed as Dioxazine Purple except Daniel Smith. Daniel Smith’s lists Carbazole Violet as a purple with, “intense,vibrant color,” and it “can invent an iris petal with each stroke.”
Color Curriculum from the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA), features an article by Carolyn Payzant on the properties of Dioxazine Purple. Payzant describes Dioxazine Purple as, “one of the bluest shades of violet,”and says, “it mixes well with most any pigment.” Elizabeth Floyd, on her website, says Dioxazine Purple, “is a strong staining purple that can go a little crazy at times.” Floyd advises caution by starting with a small amount of paint on the brush as, “a little goes a long way.”
Fans of intense purples can be grateful to the Two Carls whose experimentation led to artistic abilities of reaching the highest of purple peaks. If the intensity and vibration of rich Dioxizine Purple becomes overwhelming, Zazzle.com offers a Dioxazine Purple mousepad with the admonishing words, “Keep Calm and Carry on.” If you find yourself overwhelmed by a wave of purple fury during an intense session of inventing iris petals, simply look down at your Dioxazine Purple mouse pad, take a deep breath, keep calm and carry on.
Here’s a demonstration of Dioxazine Purple by Liquitex:
“Mauve is just pink trying to be purple.” James McNeil Whistler
In the nineteenth century, the color mauve became all the rage in more than one country, so much so that the 1890’s were called The Mauve Decade, in a book by Thomas Beer. The rage started with two royal ladies, Queen Victoria of England and Empress Eugenie of France. Queen Victoria wore a dress in Mauve to her daughter’s wedding setting off one rage. Empress Eugenie declared Mauve was the color of her eyes setting off another rage. But Mauve’s beginning came about in a scientific experiment gone wrong.
A young chemist named William Henry Perkin in 1856 was experimenting with chemicals working to produce artificial quinine. He was unsuccessful at the quinine but his experiments produced a residue with an unexpected tint. That tint later became known as Perkin’s Mauve and was the first synthetic dye. Perkins left his chemistry studies to initiate the development of the synthetic dye industry. Perkins Mauve was derived from coal tar. Some sources give the origin of the name as from the French word for the mallow plant, malva. The mallow flowers are a color similar to what is now known as mauve.
Mauve rages come and go. Mauve goes into favor and out again. Sometimes mauve returns disguised as a “new” color. Pantone’s color of the year, Radiant Orchid, looks more than a bit like a dressed up version of Mauve. Another Mauve will eventually replace the current Radiant Orchid and Mauve will be recycled again. Mauve as an artist’s paint color lives mainly with botanical painters.
I can’t help thinking of Mauve as a popular color for dresses worn by my grandmother and her friends. Its difficult to get excited about a color that brings up pictures of old ladies in dusty pinkish purple dresses, white gloves and dainty hats, sipping tea and eating cucumber sandwiches. Unfair maybe, but shutting down that visual is just impossible.
The very-expensive, highly-toxic Vermilion red was replaced by the lesser expensive and less toxic Cadmium reds in artist’s palettes in the nineteenth century. Less toxic and less expensive was less than perfect so the search for the perfect red continued. Eventually, chemists came up with a fairly good substitution for Vermilion and Cadmium. Naphthol Red was born in a chemistry lab as a derivative of coal tar.
Just Paint on the Golden Paints website describes Naphthol Red as, “bright, opaque, fire engine red.” Gamblin’s website says Naphthol Red is a, “modern organic, warm red that closely matches Cadmium Red Medium,” though Naphthol Red “makes more intense tints” and is “more transparent.” Gamblin also reports Naphthol Red is “excellent for high key painting.” AArbor Colorants recommends Naphthol Red for printing inks and gives it an excellent light fastness rating. Some sources report Naphthol Red as fading in tints. Confirmation of this claim was not confirmable so tests may be in order.
Naphthol Red does not have the toxic properties of Vermilion and the Cadmiums and is considerably less expensive. The Material Safety Data Sheets give Naphthol Red a very low toxicity rating. The MSDS says Naphthol Red may cause some mild skin irritation, nausea if consumed, or respiratory irritation if inhaled. Contact in large amounts could be more toxic.
If in need of a bright intense fire engine red, Naphthol Red may fit the bill, especially if you don’t want to shell out a lot of money. Just don’t have the Naphthol Red for dinner or add it to body lotion. It’s probably not a good idea to set any dried pigment around a fan either. Otherwise, Naphthol red can be a palette staple as a strong clear red without fear of damage to health or wallet.