Snow Tops, after Arkhip Kuindzhi

Snow Tops Copy 1

Oil on canvas, 7″ x 5″

I made this copy of another painting by Arkhip Kuindzhi from memory. It’s probably been a couple of months since the last time I looked at it and I wasn’t looking at it while painting, so the details are a little different.

I think this small canvas was originally a practice painting that I was making with a palette knife, but it wasn’t very well thought out, so after it dried I covered everything with blue in preparation for a different idea that I didn’t end up trying. Today I decided to just try painting something, and I remembered that I’ve wanted to copy this painting for a long time now.

The paints I used were mostly French ultramarine blue, terre verte, titanium white, and a little cadmium yellow pale. Also there’s a tiny amount of phthalo green and terracotta mixed in for the darker colors in the lower left corner. For the river I actually just wiped away the ultramarine and terre verte mix that I had covered that area with so the blue ground would show through.

Mountain Ridge in a Cloud

Mountain Ridge in a Cloud

Watercolor and Gouache, 4.75″ x 7″

I started this by covering the entire paper with water and white gouache. While it was wet I added black ochre in different concentrations to make the mountain. 🙂

I’m trying out a new blog theme, but I don’t have everything figured out just yet…

A Perilous Climb (revised)

A Perilous Climb 2a

Oil on canvas, 5″ x 7″

I had wanted to call this done before, but maybe it was a little too rough. In this revision I’ve added German black (natural PBk11, Williamsburg) to the sky and more of the previous Davy’s gray and my own white that I was working with in the first version.

Here’s a comparison of the white I made against a titanium white from Blockx-

Custom White 1 Comparison

You can see that the white from Blockx in the bottom row, which is Titanium white pigment in poppy oil, has a distinctly cooler/bluer color when mixed with German earth black. It’s also a shorter paint consistency, more opaque, and higher tinting.

My own white that I mulled is a mix of these pigments- titanium white (Blue Ridge), zinc white (Gamblin), and marble dust (Daniel Smith).
The oils used are walnut (M Graham) and refined linseed (Gamblin).

I didn’t measure the amounts used, but if I had to guess it’s around 60-70% titanium white and of the rest it’s probably more than half marble dust. You can see there’s a little bit of oil separation, but not much.

I actually like my own white paint for a couple of reasons. First, pure titanium white is normally very opaque and has very high tinting strength, far more than it really needs to be for artists. The addition of zinc white and especially marble dust has weakened the paint enough that it’s a little easier to control it in mixes. Second, titanium white has a reputation of having a “cooling effect” on other colors. I tested that out by comparing titanium white with zinc white in this post and found that the difference between their effects on color temperature to be situational, with some colors more affected by others, and at times nonexistent. Still, in this case my own white was clearly warmer and so its tints with the black were closer to neutral.

A Perilous Climb

A Perilous Climb

Oil on linen, 5″ x 7″

This is the latest in a series of black and white mountain paintings I’ve been working on recently, each one painted with a different kind of black. For this one I used Davy’s Gray Deep (PBk19, Williamsburg), which is made from powdered slate. It’s very transparent and not quite dark enough to be called black. I really like it for its unique working properties. Although the name “Davy’s gray” is used for a few pigment mixtures by various brands, Williamsburg is the only brand that makes it from just PBk19 alone so theirs handles differently. The white that I used here is a custom one that I made using a blend of titanium and zinc white pigments, linseed and walnut oils, and a generous amount of marble dust. I wasn’t measuring anything as I mulled the paint though so if I wanted to make it again I’d have to just guess.

Originally I painted a basic outline of the mountain with Davy’s gray brushed very thinly on the mountain and slightly thicker for the sky background. The darker areas of the finished painting are made from two layers of the Davy’s gray after the first layer had dried. Transparent paints have a lot of benefits and visual interest, but are sometimes hard to use if you make a mistake because the act of fixing the mistake may harm the transparency and that will change the way it looks. White paint is very opaque, so having to use some of that to fix mistakes or make changes ruined the transparency in a few places.

The other two paintings I made before this weren’t very interesting to look at though, so I probably won’t bother uploading them.

Mountain and Waterfall

Mountain And Waterfall

Acrylic on canvas, 5″x7″

This is a copy of a small portion of a famous Chinese landscape painting called Travelers amid Mountains and Streams. I didn’t want the uniform texture of canvas to show through the paint, so I first covered the entire canvas in fiber paste from Golden. Then I coated it in a layer of black paint and once it was dry I used a dry brush technique to apply white paint that clung to the ridges of texture. I liked how it looks like rocks with snow on them.

It’s been a really long time since I used acrylic paint, but since I have a lot of old tubes I can freely use them without worrying about wasting paint. If I don’t use them then they’re wasted anyways.

Iron Yunshan

Click for full size

Self made watercolor on Fabriano 300lb soft press paper, 4.75″x9″

I just got some things in the mail from Daniel Smith, including some gum arabic, so I mixed it with some dry pigment I already had, also from Daniel Smith, and a little bit of honey to make some watercolors. Unfortunately I only have mars black and titanium white, but this was my first time making watercolor paint.

Lately I’ve been looking through Natural Pigment’s catalog and I’m really interested in a set like this one. I have a very long wish list of their dry pigments that I want to try making my own paint from.

Also this was my first time using a daVinci Cosmotop-spin brush and it worked out really well. It’s not the only one I used here, but I thought I’d mention how good it seems to be.

Misty Mountain Valley

Oil on canvas, 5″x7″

Based on some of the Chinese landscape paintings I’ve been looking at lately.

I made this entirely with Blue Ridge charcoal black oil paint, mixed with various amounts of both liquin and paint thinner. No white was used, and the light areas are where the paint was applied more thinly in a glaze over the white canvas. The fact that charcoal black, which is made from ground up charcoal, is very transparent to begin with made it very well suited for this.