Today (Tuesday 4/18/23), I started working over the underpainting I’d previously done. It was meant for the autumn scene, but I decided to use it for the Kings River in Spring because there are still a lot of autumnal colors even in spring here. Hickories unfurl bright red leaf capsules, oaks are golden once they leaf out, and until then there’s still leftover leaves from last year and bare tree trunks and limbs, too.
Besides, I don’t have any of the bright yellows and chartreuse greens, so it’s all going to be a bit earthy anyway. If you’d like to follow along, I’ll post my update pictures with each day’s work. I’ll go back to working on this one tomorrow afternoon if I’ve figured out what it needs by then.
Progress on Kings River in Spring
This painting is the second of the series. I’ll add progress photos to this space as I get them done. I have no idea how long it will take to finish the whole series. It’s an experiment in every way. Painting with oils is still new for me. I did a few test paintings late last year, but 2023 is when I really began to study. This is not only a learning experience for how oils themselves work, but as well for how the Ozark pigments work in oil.
Like the Winter scene, it’s also on a 16 x 20″ birch board. But for this one, I used gesso as a primer. That worked much better than the previous one in which I used a coat of walnut oil to seal the wood. Gesso is something I can conceivably make at home, and I have made an experimental batch before with rabbit hide glue and limestone. I’ll just buy this unless I need to make my own one day. At least I know I can do it if I have to.
There is one pigment I outsource in my oil paintings. I can’t do without a white, and there are no local substitutes for it. So I buy titanium oxide powder and make white paint with that.
The pigment I used in this one’s underpainting came from a russet colored sandstone. It is one of my favorites! I love the sepia-toned look and even if that’s all I could use, I think I could be satisfied with monochromatic paintings made from it. However, I am going to finish it out with all of the colors at my disposal.
See all of the season’s progress pages:
(the rest of these buttons will go live as I get each progress page started)
About the Series
I made a blog post the other day to show all of the scenes that I’m intending for this series. Hopefully, I can get enough differentiation between the seasons to do all four. But if not, I’ll just call it something else than ‘Four Seasons’, haha. My plan, at this point, is to paint the underbody a different color for each season. Maybe that will help give enough variation between the seasons. I think Kings River in Spring will be the hardest ‘look’ to capture because I just don’t have the yellows and light greens I’d like to have. But maybe mixing the paint with the titanium will help with that. And choosing an early morning with fog and dawn light will help, as well.
I don’t know what I’m doing yet, and it’s always a shock when a painting works. It’s a grand experiment and I’m having fun figuring it all out. I hope you are enjoying the journey, too!
Madison Woods is a self-taught artist who moved to the Ozarks from south Louisiana in 2005. In 2018 she began experimenting with watercolor painting, using her local pigments. She calls them Paleo Paints. In 2023 she began her journey into the world of oil painting with those same pigments. Her paintings of the Ozark-inspired scenes feature exclusively the lightfast pigments foraged from Madison county, Arkansas. Her inspiration is nature – the beauty, and the inherent cycle of life and death, destruction and regeneration. Wild Ozark is also the only licensed ginseng nursery in Arkansas. Here’s the link for more information on the nursery end of life out here.
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2 thoughts on “Kings River in Spring | Ozark pigments in oil”
Thanks, Janet! I’m really enjoying working with oil paints 😀