Before I start, let me make a point about being prepared. I have to admit that I started this painting without being totally prepared--and I wanted to show you the results so you could avoid the same mistake. I am a firm believer that you must be prepared to paint when you approach the easel.
When traveling--and particularly when working with water-based paints--I like to use disposable palette paper. When I use oil paints, I use a wooden palette. In this case, as I am using Holbein Duo paints, so I had intended to buy disposable palette paper at the art store, but forgot. Instead of going back and making sure I was prepared, I followed my wife's suggestion and used a paper plate. I took a photo of what my palette (paper plate) looked like after the monochromatic painting.
It was a miracle I could control any of the tones. My recommendation is that you have the right equipment (including a good palette) before you start painting--an organized palette is essential. Anyway, I went back and got some proper palette paper for this stage of painting.
Let's get started by reminding you of the final monochromatic painting as it stood at the beginning of this post.
Now that I have proper palette paper--I start by mixing the piles of paint in three major tones in the monochromatic painting. Below is a photo of my palette--although the piles of paint are nearly gone--as I had been working for some time, but I think you can still see my point.
I set out my colors across the left, which are the same I use for all nearly all my paintings--red, light yellow, sap green, ultramarine blue, and white. I start by mixing three tones equivalent to the main tones of the underpainting across the top--a light tone, dark tone, and mid tone--moving left to right. After that I mixed the background colors, and color of the cup trying as much as possible to keep the colors in the same tones as in the underpainting.
You will see that the yellow I have mixed as the main color for the cup is a mid-tone and much darker than you might think if you only were looking at the cup. I work this way for around 5-10 mines, not so worried about making a finished painting--but primarily focusing on keeping the drawing and tones consistent with the monochromatic underpainting. Here is photo I took after around 10 minutes of laying down paint.
Obviously, there is still a lot to be done to make this an interesting painting, but I am mainly trying to get the color relationships correct--without losing the tonal relationships.
To make sure I was on track, I took a photo of the painting at this stage in black and white to make sure the tones were being maintained.
Satisfied that the tonal relationships were roughly correct--I move into a phase where I was trying to move the painting towards a more finished stage. I won't go into all the details, but generally speaking, this is a phase where I working the edges (the points were two or more tones meet). In the case of this painting, this meant focusing on the shape of the opening of the cup, to make sure it was well-drawn and met the sides of the cup, table, and background on the right correctly. Secondly, I wanted to make sure the cup sat on the table convincingly, so I spent some time on the edges where the side and mouth of the cup meets the table.
I worked the painting for another 30 minutes or so, and here is where it finished.
At this point, I could have keep working on it a bit more, but felt that it was in a state I could live with and there was a real risk I could ruin it my overpainting it. People always ask me, when is a painting finished--and there is never an easy answer. In this case, it was when I felt it captured my initial sense of why I started the painting in the first place--a certain glow of the yellow of the cup. I also wanted the viewer to feel as if you could feel the opening of the cup--that it was a real cup that could be used.
Anyway, I'd be interesting in you views on this lesson. Did you find it useful. What could I add to make it better. I plan to add other lessons in the future, so your feedback is appreciated. sixtyminuteartist