Libby's Book Blog and Maine Paintings!

 Problem Solving with Libby

Question from Susan:

I am in the south of France where the light is delicious, but very bright, even late into the afternoon. I feel good about my work while I am on site, checking first to make sure my values are correct, as you discuss in the book and teach at the workshops. But then when I bring my studies indoors, the colors are way too saturated and bright. Is there a way to gauge the color saturation while mixing onsite in the bright sunlight? Both my palette and panel were under the umbrella.

Answer from Libby:

Hi Susan, your painting location sounds fabulous!! 
Congratulations on avoiding coming in with dark cold paintings. That is often an issue in bright light. With all of the bounced light you're having invade your painting, I would suggest taking out a painting with correct chroma in a clear bag that you can paint on to check color or make up a couple of premixed puddles of color. I would premix colors from the previous day's work in the correct chroma and then go back to the same location and make a new painting. By comparing the paint you mix on your palette to the premixed puddles, you can tell if you're in the ball park with the chroma you want. Once you know how to compensate for the light you should be able to reach your desired chroma.

I run into over-saturation in my studio at times. 
By using my plein air studies I am able to mix puddles of color that I want to use in my studio work. Then I have wet paint to compare to as I mix new color.
Comparing wet paint to wet paint works for me. 

This is another good reason to keep your field studies! They create our library of knowledge.

What do we mean when we say, 
Keep your painting in the same language?

Do you ever find yourself rushing to finish a painting on location, or running into the studio and painting before you get focused on your intent? 

I have been thinking of this recently with the work I am completing in the studio. I have to rethink what my mood was when I was on location and the rhythm in which I painted. Each painting has it's own energy.   I have to think about the brush work and what size and kind of brush I was working with. 

One of ways to change the unity and language of your painting is to paint carefully thru the foreground and middleground and then take out a knife and paint a large flat sky... get the idea? If you layer color in most of your painting make sure you layer paint in the sky.
All in all keeping your painting in the same language means making sure the painting doesn't look like someone else came up to your easel and painted on your painting when you weren't looking!

What's on the Easel? 

Paintings from Maine! 

Plein Air

 more later.....


Libby's Book Blog Questions of the Week

Thank you for the questions I received for the book blog. I am so thrilled to be able to share ideas here! Next week, we will discuss keeping the language the same within a painting. Also, there will be pictures of the series of Maine paintings that I have been working on!

First question is from Joel,

Rereading your book regarding your use of the transparent oxides, I interpret that you use the combo as your sketch-in base of the final painting and then either cover it over or let it shine through in some areas or glaze over it altogether just as another painter would first use some combo of colors to first put in the elements of the final painting (bnt sienna+ultram or whatever. Am I correct?   anything else you can inform me about the transparent red/yellow/brown oxides in oil painting (or refer me to some more informative material about these colors). 

You have the right interpretation of how I use the transparent oxides.  I also add opaque to the paint when I want a full-bodied paint with out transparency.

The transparent oxides are good workhorses. They make great glowing under paintings and can be mixed with opaque pigments. I use them when I need to push a temperature warmer. They make great greys when mixed with their complement.

The beauty of transparent yellow oxide is that it is a dark in value yellow paint I can always bring up the value with a lighter value opaque.

For more information, you can click on the link on my website for Gamblin Colors.  They have a wonderful website full of information for the artist to read on the paint they use. 

Another question from Sheila,

I've been reviewing what I believe is the most complete instruction book to landscape painting. My only question would be is there anything you would have liked to have added now that there are several years since its publication? 


Sheila, what a wonderful question! I would have liked to have more paintings done at the same location. As a painter, I find that I learn and discover so much more with each painting I make. I find that the poetry in my work comes the longer I work on location.

 For next week, we will discuss keeping the language the same within a painting.  Also, there will be pictures of the series of Maine paintings that I am working on.


Libby's Book Blog- Oil Painter's Solution-Landscapes Question\Answer


Libby would like to offer this opportunity to answer any questions you may have about information in her book! She will answer one or two questions a week!

Please email questions to Elizabeth@elizabethtolley.com