Friday, 09 May 2008

Painting the blues away

A lot of famous painters in the past have been through a "blue" period. Picasso is the most well-known example. here is perhaps his most famous Blue Nude of that period.

A few years ago I went through a similar period, although I did not realise it at the time until I called in an old teacher of mine to come and do a review of my work. He said, "Try and get away from blue for a while."

It has been a while now since I used Prussian Blue in a painting. At the time I used it, I enjoyed the silkiness of the paint and how a little truly went a long way. Lately, though I appreciate how the colour bleeds into the surrounds and can be annoying to work with, especially when working "Wet-in-wet".
In fact it is a bad colour from this point of view. If you want to put yellow alongside it you will get a hideous green line between the 2 which stubbornly refuses to go away. Many times I have had to wipe the Prussian blue off with turps and only add it after the other colours.

What I have found a good way of working with this colour though is using it as a "ground" colour - priming the canvas with a half-half mix of Prussian blue and alizarin crimson give s nice rich, transparent black which makes all colours added on top of this glow really well. It also obviates the need to use thick paint, and if you are like me, feeling a little stretched on the budget, this can help save paint.

I am currently entering a "Brown Period".

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