So many excellent paintings of the Buffalo National river and the surrounding natural areas exist, but I haven’t seen many King’s river paintings. While both rivers begin in our local area, Wild Ozark is in the Kings river watershed. And Kings river is closest. We cross it several times when we go to town. The rocks in the upper Kings river are the same as the rocks I gather here on our own creek. Our creek feeds into Felkins, and then Felkins feeds into Kings. I gather rocks from all three of these sources. However, farther downstream in Kings river, the rocks change to a different type that aren’t very good for pigments.
For my first full-sized series in Ozark pigment oils, I chose to paint the beautiful Kings river in all four seasons, as seen from the bridge on our dirt road.
As I get the paintings finished, I’ll add them to this post to show how it went. In the meantime, follow the progress pages linked below to see them as I paint them. These are the four tentative photo reference choices for my series of Kings River paintings planned for 2023. Keep in mind that my art never looks the same as my references. The colors will be earthier, and the style will be tonalist. And sometimes I put in things that aren’t really there.
Four Seasons of Kings River paintings
While I might also go sit out on the bridge or down on the old bridge landing, these are the photos I’ll be using as references for my 2023 painting season kickoff. Of course, my paintings are not photo-realism, so there’s no telling how similar the end results will be. And, it’s possible that with the colors I have on my palette, that there won’t be enough variation between the seasons. I may end up only having two. But I’m excited to have at least narrowed down the first subjects. I will likely do other paintings between these, but eventually by the end of the year, I hope to have the full spread of seasons.
See the Progress Pages for Each Painting
Each button will go live once I’ve started the painting. So far, spring, summer, and autumn are live. Winter is live, but I’ll be repainting that one.
Ozark Pigments in Oils
One of my 2023 goals is to learn to make better oil paints using the Ozark pigments. And that leads to learning how to paint better using them. It’s not as straightforward as a goal of simply learning to paint in oils, though.
Use Local Pigments
First of all, I only want to use the Ozark pigments for these Kings River paintings. I will not use other pigments from other places, or store-bought pigments to paint scenes from the Ozarks (see my update and concession, below). Actually, I won’t use store-bought for any scenes anywhere. So that severely limits my palette.
UPDATE: I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that I need to outsource white pigment. I’ve had very little success doing without it. There are no local sources for making an opaque white oil paint, at least none that I can find. My usual sources, like limestone or eggshells, will not work. Therefore, I buy titanium dioxide powder to make a white paint. Then that white is present more or less, depending on the scene, to adjust the values of the Ozark colors.
The DIY Drive
Second of all, a large part of my life’s drive is using local resources for the things I do. I suppose I get a sense of security from at least knowing I could continue to make my art, even if there are no store-bought options.
So to make the paints I’ll use black walnut oil. I’m also trying to avoid the harsh chemicals, so I’ll have to learn how to clean brushes and messes without the solvents. During my initial testing I used used cooking oil to cleanup first, then soap and water. This may not work long-term, though. So it’s an experiment to find what works. The less things I have to buy from outside sources, the better. When I do purchase supplies, like the oil, I’d like it to be from a source that I could conceivably produce myself if I had to. We have lots of black walnuts around here. So with a press, I could conceivably make black walnut oil.
All of the walnut oils on the market for artists are regular walnuts, but black walnut oil has the same drying capacity. Unless the oil is oxidized before using it, the drying time is longer than linseed. So I’ll make the paint with black walnut oil that I purchase, but will wash a portion of it to oxidize it so I can use a thicker, and faster drying version of it for mixing on my canvas once the paint is out of the tubes.
Stubborn? Or Persistent?
This stubbornness, if you want to call it that (and it might just be that), necessarily means my palette is very limited. I prefer not to think of it as pig-headed or stubborn, but as persistence, haha. Honestly, though, it is my entire branding platform as an artist. So, as with the watercolor paintings in my Ozark pigments, there won’t be any bright greens, yellows, or blues in this series of Kings River paintings. Unless I find a local source that is lightfast.
And this is why I love the tonalist style of paintings. My colors will fit that perfectly. All I need is a little help from white. Now all there is to do, is learn how to pull off making my paintings look as I am imagining they should. So we’ll see how it goes!