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Friday, August 22, 2014

Graydon Parrish Workshop - Munsell Color System Intermediate

This year I realized that 5 days is just not enough so I pulled every last string I could with my "real life" responsibilities and was lucky enough to get to spend 10 full days learning from Graydon Parrish.

Once again I learned so, so much!  I honestly can not say enough about what a wonderful, inspiring, knowledgeable, patient and just darn nice person Graydon is.  If you ever get the chance to take a workshop with him, run don't walk to sign up.  This year we applied the color knowledge that we learned in the first session by painting high chroma spheres. 

Red Sphere Ebauche
We started with the red sphere, or 5R4/12 in munsell notation.  We mixed up our paints and then did a quick (well it should be quick but I am SO slow) ebauche.  I struggled a bit (well a lot) mixing up the correct string as I seem to have a really hard time "seeing" red for what it really is.  I see the value as much higher than it really is due to the high chroma.  As I recall, I struggled on my color chart as well with red and yellow.
Red Sphere - Second Pass
Once the ebauche was dry I then painted a second pass, trying to get closer to the actual value and chroma shifts that I observed on the actual sphere.  Spheres are deceptively hard to paint or draw realistically as every little flaw sticks out like a sore thumb.  That being said, I was very surprised at how easily the red sphere took shape, I must be getting better ;)  This is where I left the sphere but it still needs at least one more pass.  Even though I no longer have the sphere, I can paint up my own at home to a perfect match (thanks munsell chips) and set it up in my studio to get the same lighting set up.

Yellow Sphere - Oil on Panel
While my red sphere was drying I started on my yellow sphere, 5Y8/12 in munsell speak.  The dreaded yellow sphere!  I do not paint yellow much in any medium so I did not realize how difficult a color yellow is to match correctly.  I forgot to get a photo of the ebauche and 2nd pass so here is the finished sphere.  Yellow is tricky because every time you put a stroke of paint down, the stroke next to it looks too green or too orange in comparison.  Plus it is just darn hard on the eye to look at such an intense color. Short sessions are a must!
Palette at the end of a session
I took a photo of my palette at the end of one of my sessions to show how neat, clean & tidy it is :)  Above my pallet are a couple of the tubes of paint I mixed up and tubed last year for my neutral paints.  Before when I would end a painting session my palette would be in a complete state of chaos as I would be trying to mix what I was seeing in my subject on the fly.

While I do enjoy working that way at times, when trying to really accurately depict the color you are seeing it is really hard as each brush stroke is relative to the stroke that came before it and I tend to end up chasing the values and chromas rather than stepping back, taking a deep breath and painting what I know, not what I think I am seeing. 

Yes I could just paint spheres focusing on value and hue and get an ok looking sphere but to paint a sphere while maintaining the correct hue, value & chroma all along the full form of the sphere is so much more challenging....and so much more rewarding.


Artanya said...

Looks fantastic!! These are beautiful spheres. Graydon is one of a kind. Sad to have missed it this year!

Tracey Costescu said...

Thanks Anya! We missed you as well....maybe next year we will see you again :) Yes Graydon is the best!