Love, Lydia - Notes from a geeky, plus sized artist.: Painting Time

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Painting Time

Hey everyone,

So the commission I had earlier this month is all done.  I'm happy to share it with you all now.  It all started when I got a message from a man on Etsy, asking if I could paint a Celtic knotwork design on his Irish Bodhran drum.  I've never worked on a project like this before, but was excited by the prospect.  I did some quick research and found I would easily be able to do it, using high quality acrylic paints.  (If it was to be used regularly I'd also need to varnish it with a protective coating, but this drum was for display.)  So, I showed him some possible designs, he chose one, and then sent me his 18 inch, goat skin head, Bodhran drum.  Here's a few shots showing how the piece came together.  The sketchbook is the Fabriano EcoQua one that I got in September's Pigment + Palette box.  I've found I really like working with the dotted paper and that it holds up surprisingly well to acrylics when I tested them in the book to prepare for this painting.

Next on my plate was testing out some items from the October Pigment + Palette box.  I've tried Aquabord before (a hard panel perfect for watercolors that can be framed without glass), and enjoy working with it, but the other products are new to me.  Today I focused on the Qor watercolor samples.  The Qor line is made by Golden, whose fluid acrylics I have come to love as I worked with them more (and bought a few more bottles of) while working on the drum.  I was a little unsure of the Qor line at first, but here's a quick rundown of the colors I was able to test.
The colors are as follows, on the left the Qor line and on the right the most comparable color I had on hand.  Overall I think the Qor colors performed well and from what I can tell the quality is somewhere close to that of Winsor & Newton, but not quite M. Graham or Daniel Smith.

Qor Cobalt Teal VS Winsor & Newton Cobalt Turquoise Light.  These colors are virtually the same and come from the same single pigment PG50.  The both have about the same amount of pigment in the paint as far as I can tell.  In this case just buy whichever is on the best sale.  They're both quite lightfast, though according to Qor's website most of their line doesn't seem to have been tested yet.  Winner: Tie

Qor Dioxazine Purple VS Grumbacher Violet (Thalo Purple).  Dioxazine Purple is known to use a somewhat lightfast pigment PG23, but it isn't perfect.  Personally I wouldn't buy this pigment though it's lovely looking.  The Grumbacher Violet is slightly more lightfast, but only by a little bit using PV19 & PB15, though it can get a similar look when the ratio of paint to water is increased.  In terms of pigment for your dollar Qor is better, but Grumbacher wins for lightfastness despite being a more watered down student quality paint.  Winner: Grumbacher

Qor Quinicridone Magenta VS Grumbacher Carmine Hue.  Quinicridone (PR122) will be joining my palette soon because it reminds me a lot of the Cotman Mauve I used to love, but sadly found out was less lightfast than my standards would allow.  The Magenta is a solid shade that's slightly more cool in tone than the Carmine hue (PV19 & PV19, unsure why it's listed this way on the tube, different sources perhaps?) I compared it to.  The Magenta is also slightly more lightfast, so if mixed with Cotman's Raw Sienna it will likely be used in the future as my go-to combination for lighter skintones. Winner: Qor

Qor Transparent Pyrrole Orange VS Grumbacher Alizarin Orange.  In looks the Pyrrole is stunning, the color pops off the page, and while the Alizarin (PY65, PY150 & PR209) comes close it's not quite as intense.  Both are less lightfast colors, the Qor (PO71) slightly more so, which means I probably won't use either one often if I can help it.  However, for a project that will be used from photographs or a short term use the Pyrrole would be a great choice.  Winner: Tie

Qor Quinacridone Gold VS Cotman Raw Sienna.  Both of these colors are fantastic to work with, really it comes down to which effect you prefer from what I can tell.  Qor seems to be less lightfast (PO48 & PY150, this in the only color that's been tested so far of those I sampled), but when I checked the pigment information it seemed a very stable color.  Raw Sienna (PR101 & PY42) would give the same overall color, but with stronger effects at the edges and paler center sections in each stroke.  Winner: Tie

Qor Green Gold VS Grumbacher Thalo Yellow Green.  These colors are visually the most different pairing I had during my tests, so apologies there.  I found the Green Gold a great new choice, with few easily available colors locally that could compare.  It's lightfast using PY129 whereas the Thalo shade is slightly less lightfast using PG36 & PY3.  The Green Gold is a rich shade, but the Thalo is much more neon, which would be suitable for some temporary projects.  Winner: Qor

Please note I tried not to go too far into the details of how lightfastness is rated because many brands use different scales.  I prefer not to confuse anyone, so I have simply used comparatives to illustrate my meaning in this article.  I find lightfastness to be of considerable importance when selecting materials to work with, and at this point try to stick to only the highest rated colors if at all possible.  A couple of years ago I bought the book "The Artist's Guide to Selecting Colors" by Michael Wilcox, which is how I began to change my colors, and more recently this fantastic website as well.  The website has some more recent additions, though I occasionally come across colors that neither has a record of, in which case I check the manufacturer's site, Google search, or avoid using the color if I can't find out the rating.  It sounds strict and occasionally I do wish there were more shades of purple to use, but I know it will pay off years down the road when my grandchildren are able to see my art with colors as intense as they were when I painted each piece.

Thanks for reading, next time I'll be writing more about some of my travel adventures.

Love,
Lydia

2 comments:

  1. Wow. Those are some really crisp, clean lines!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I still love working on these types of exacting, detailed work even though I mostly work in collage these days.

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