More painting with neutrals

It was a cold winter afternoon and I saw this rock outcrop near my house. There were many effects of light and shadow. There's open light, reflected and transmitted light. Warm, warmer and cool light. Wrapped in a white package. 12 x 18 oc.

Painted loosely wet in wet using DMP and Lukas 1864 colors. I use a combination of good bristles and out of control bristles. Finishing with some small synthetic sables. The underpainting was laided down in March. Finished it this week. About 6-8 hours total.

This is the 'neutral palette'. Red violet, Blue Violet, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine and Yellow Orange full intensity colors.
Semi neutral Blue (BG+BV), sn Yellow (YG+YO) and sn Red (RV + RO). 



  • @KingstonFineArt, This is enormously helpful. Thank you!

    Have you found it possible to mix a true cobalt blue color from DMP or did you use Lukas cobalt straight from the tube as a “special” for this wintry white painting?

    I have often wondered why painters didn’t stretch their canvas on the bias. Can you think of any drawbacks to doing so? I would like to do this.
  • Oops that’s DMP medium. The best medium I be found. 
  • It might be very hard to get a good stretch. 
  • Thanks! 

    I would like to try the DMP medium but I’d have to replace the solvent with the lavender nontoxic version. Between that and cost of genuine Venice turpentine it would cost a fortune. I’ll have to try and find cobalt blue with my Geneva set of paint the hard way.
  • I would first try phthalo blue mixed with Ultramarine rather than genuine cobalt blue and see if that works for you. It will be much cheaper if you like it.
  • @Richard_P, Thank you but I’ve already talked myself out of genuine cobalt blue. :)

    What I’m really asking is - is cobalt blue color obtainable using only the core Geneva oil colors? Theoretically it should be, if I am understanding right, as it’s only the really really intensely bright colors that a painter needs to add an extra tube color to obtain a match for in the DMP system.
  • The Cobalt is being used as a tint for the Neutral Blue tones. I build my palette from 3 tubes of paint creating intrinsic harmony. Cobalt Blue, Cad Yellow and Cad Red Deep. All Lukas 1862 artist grade colors. My neutral 'primaries' semi neutral blue, red and yellow are mixed from that 12 color spectrum. I have a video of that process. 

    The painting here is painted from the neutrals. Primarily SN Blue lightened to value and tinted with Cobalt, Yellow Orange for temperature control, Red Violet for color and so on.  It's painted from the neutral side of my palette.

    If I had mixed my base palette using a mix of pthalo and Ultramarine for blue there would be intrinsic harmony from using that blue. If you use the metaphor of mixing the color spectrum from the primaries you can interchange those primaries to get specific harmonies. Very inexpensively.

    I discovered years ago while painting primarily in watercolor that the natural world around me was pretty much a neutral world. It's easier to paint neutrally in watercolor. I wasn't until around 2012 that I started finding it in oils.

    This is my basic full dual primary palette  full intensity on the top. Semi Neutral on the bottom. Earth tones on the left. I really I won't lay out all these full intensity colors for the average painting.

  • I would say so too, but without testing it's hard to know :)
  • @Richard_P, I have my Geneva paints ready to go but the screaming 20’s has taken a major toll on my health.

    I am doing as much planning ahead as I can in my mind as I am mostly bedridden. I can’t paint in oils while I’m in bed unfortunately. However, thanks to all this great info KingstonFineArt is providing I will be miles ahead in my stalled painting journey once I get to the starting line.
  • I am sorry to hear that. Hope you feel better soon..
  • @KingstonFineArt, I really can’t thank you enough! Thank you!!! 

    Although I can’t paint in oils just yet I have been taking good notes on your info and suggestions. In the meantime I’ve been doing plenty of studying of the Sloan book and his teacher who recovered the Rosetta Stone of color harmony, (at least to me), which I knew must exist somewhere out there - Hardesty G. Marratta.

    I really appreciate your sharing your methods and passing on knowledge which I feared might have gone mostly extinct in our era. With it I feel as though I’m understanding on a whole new level and that the possibilities are infinite in designing my own color palettes and planning my still life DMP exercises harmoniously, too.

    I have just now ordered a lot of casein paint tubes to begin exploring the possibilities in color. It’s the best I can do for now.

    Thanks again!
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