Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Swatch Play

I like to have a basic set of colors laid out at all times and that's what this set up is all about. You may have noticed that this palette consists almost entirely of Daniel Smith colors. That's because my M. Graham set is always at hand in my field kit. I get so wowed by the test swatches in the Daniel Smith catalog that I find myself driven to test out new colors every time I open the thing. Which I guess is the whole idea. Be that as it may, I have chanced upon phenomenal colors in the process and, as I mentioned yesterday, sometimes the colors themselves are great inspirations.

I started that post by saying that I have way too many colors. I just happened on Rhonda Carpenter's blog in which she posts about collecting Daniel Smith colors and duplicating colors when D.S. changes the names of pigments. This makes me feel a lot more sane. Or maybe it just feels better to have company in such consumption madness. In any event, what a joy to have these paints to play with. Here's the overview...

I start by messing around on the back end of an unsuccessful effort. Then I focus in on making rudimentary swatches. I could be more careful with the test swatch brush strokes but part of my efforts over the past year have been directed towards allowing myself to become sloppy in the studio. Recently, I've decided that it's time to let the pendulum swing back towards order but that's a theme for another post.

I've made my swatches on Indian Village paper that's hand made in the mountains of Nepal and brought down by pack animal. It's rough and very inconsistent. Sometimes it's dirty and terribly warped but there are fabulous qualities of the paper that bring me back to it over and over. I made all but 3 of my Age of Flowers paintings on Indian Village Paper.

Here I've laid out the colors in the best order for them to follow starting with Daniel Smith Buff Titanium in the upper left. Actually, the order snakes along so that the first column proceeds down from top to bottom and the second column moves up from bottom to top and so forth.

All Daniel Smith except where noted, I have Buff Titanium, Aureolin, Cadmium Yellow Light, Quinacridone Gold, Goethite-Brown Ochre, Sepia (Schmincke), Rich Green Gold, Green Gold, Serpentine, Cinnabar Green Extra Light (Old Holland) Viridian, Cobalt Teal, Manganese Blue, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Imperial Purple, Rose of Ultramarine, Deep Scarlet, Quinacridone Rose, Cadmium Red, Perinone Orange, Violet-Grey (Old Holland).

Not satisfied with the Daniel Smith Viridian, I test the M. Graham Viridian right next to it. What a difference! Holy Cow! Now, I've done this before but apparently I have to remind myself. So I continue on with the M. Graham paints: Azo Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Light, (from top of last column—that's Daniel Smith Permanent Yellow Deep that I stuck at the top) below which is the M. Graham Prussian Blue - a dramatically different color than the Daniel Smith, followed by the M. Graham Quinacridone Rose (right next to the Daniel Smith), Cobalt Blue, Pthalo Green and Cadmium Red Light. Even with the jumbled presentation and the distance of the camera lens, you can still see the jewel-like quality of the M. Graham paints.

I think that because I have the Daniel Smith colors, I feel compelled to use them up. Now that I've written that out, I am going to let that compulsion go. That being said, I still absolutely love a lot of the Daniel Smith colors that are unique to their company. I am especially fond of (and will keep in my basic palette) the Serpentine, Goethite and Manganese Blue—all with such fabulous granulating properties. The Buff Titanium is great for mixing and the Green Gold is in my core palette along with the Quinacridone Gold. I will also keep Imperial Purple and Rose of Ultramarine but will gab more about them at a later date.

Reminded of what a thrill the M. Graham colors give me, I called them right up and spoke with Diana Graham to tell her so. Diana told me that they've just released 35 new colors including Nickel Quinacridone Gold, a Cobalt Teal and, I just noticed, a Manganese Blue. Hmmm... I see more tubes of watercolor coming my way.... And stay tuned for a future post on M. Graham & Co.


RHCarpenter said...

Hi, Suzanne! We are almost neighbors - about 6 hours away as I drive :) Love seeing all your paints and hearing you talk about them, too, and thanks for linking to my blog (FYI it's Rhonda Carpenter, not Carter, though :) I'll definitely keep a link and keep checking back to see what you're up to!

griesmail said...

Thankyou for showing your studio