Artists train themselves to use only one or two pigments during the painting process. It is an excellent way to train the eye to see tone correctly while still creating an simple an an effective presentation. And because single colour printing is more cost effective a monochromatic design is still a good way to save money for many clients despite the advances in four color printing techniques. And even if this were not so because most paintings are not done with a direct method of applying colour immediately, but instead are built upon a monochromatic or semi-monochromatic underpainting, monochromatic training is a necessary part of an artist’s schooling in any case.
Most often monochromatic paintings will be done with umber paint because it dries quickly.
Raw umber is cooler and more green and burnt umber is more red; but both both are relatively cool in comparison to the heavily saturated pigments which are used for later staged painting.
Those two base colors make for a pleasant cool toned grey when mixed with white or can appear warmer when applied over white.
I got a thirty-seven milliliter Winsor and Newton Burnt Umber paint tube for Christmas (2015) and wanted to try it out. It’s a great soft paint made from PBr7 with safflower and linseed oil as the medium.
I prefer linseed oil as a medium myself, but it is common for commercial producers to use safflower oil because it makes for a softer paint which does not yellow as much.
I did the quick still life vignette seen below last night (Jan 16 2016) and decided to post it.
I observed from life doing a quick sketch not concerned about accuracy all that much (as you can see with the clockface) wanting to make the most of my time with my brush and the small time I had available between my work on comic book pages.
The whole project took about three hours and serves as a good demonstration of a burnt umber and titanium white monochromatic painting.
The medium was oil paint fattened with cold pressed linseed oil as need and thinned with lavender oil as needed. The canvas was just Strathmore Canvas Paper Series 300 9×12 inch.
The photographs of the work presented here were those first taken under the camera’s flash and then with no flash under two bulbs of 60 watt incandescent light.
The objects are: A bottle of linseed oil (Gamblin recently switched to plastic bottles, which I hate, so I’m keeping these old glass ones around and transferring the oil into them). The medium sized glass muller from naturalpigments.com which I use to make my paints from pigments. And a Westclox wind up clock that I really love and like to keep on my desk while filming myself painting.
These objects were chosen for their reflective and transparent properties and not for their subject, but it had been so long since I painted that I thought the title of this little painting should be, “Time to Paint”.