Painting color sketches can help you develop
more powerful compositions and improve your painting overall.
This is because each one can be like a miniature painting which you practice decision-making
as you go through all the stages of a painting in a short amount of time.
Besides these benefits, color sketches are fun to paint. I’m Sarah F. Jayne. Welcome to this episode
of my painting videos. For a free PDF sheet summarizing this video, visit www.oldgarden.com. I’m about to set up to do some color sketches.
Before I do that, I want to share the different things you can use color sketches for. Here
some color sketches from a painting trip I took to Mexico. Color sketches are so handy
for traveling because so few supplies are needed.
Color sketches are also really useful for figuring out compositions and playing around
with positioning and orientation. Color sketches are not limited to a certain
genre. They’re useful for figuring out simple compositions in still life and more complex
ones. Here’s an example where I moved around the different elements. In portraiture, it’s
a great way to capture fleeting images of people in action that you can later use in
paintings. It also works quite well for landscapes. Often, if a I go to a nature spot, I’ll take
a pad like this with me. Sometimes I’ll gesso the page ahead of time, but it’s not even
necessary. Here, I’ve painted, done a value study, and sketches with an ink pen all on
the same page. So let’s move in and we’ll do one. For my color sketches, I like to use the Strathmore
pads 400-series. They’re really nice because they come in all different sizes, but it’s
really helpful to gesso the sheets before painting the color sketches. If you don’t
do that, then on a heavily painted page, you’ll get a lot of oil bleed through if you’re using
oil paints. So to do that I gather up four pads at once
because they have to dry open for the gesso not to smear. So here are my four pads ready
to go. Now, I typically buy the gesso in a large one gallon container. I slide a piece of paper under the sheets
like this, so that I can over brush and don’t have to do it very carefully. Depending on
the thickness of your gesso, it may leave paint ridges. That can be nice for the texture
of paintings, but one thing I like to do for the color sketches is leave it fairly smooth.
Do the larger ones first. Move your pads aside to dry and paint some smaller ones. After I’ve gessoed the pads, I like to give
the sheets a quick sanding. I’m using two twenty sandpaper. The sheets
will flatten out after they’ve sat closed in a pad for awhile. I use a Silver Grand
Prix brush one thousand three series in size zero. I like to do my sketching in yellow
ochre because it practically disappears. I’m just gonna make a little frame for my painting.
It doesn’t need to be perfect. I’m doing a horizontal shot. Right now I’m just looking
for the shadow pattern which . . .here. That’ll be nice. Real nice contrast, gonna pick up.
I’m gonna pick up some colors. Like color spots that I discuss in another video, this
is actually more easily done when you have a bunch of colors already on your palette
because you just need lots of little samples, teeny tiny little amounts of color. The great
thing about doing color sketches is that they are a microcosm for painting. So you practice
every aspect of your painting. The other lovely thing about color sketches is that they don’t
take much paint. Which is kind of nice. Sometimes you don’t want to squeeze out all your paint,
you just have a little bit of time. Thank you for joining me. I hope you’ve enjoyed
this video! I invite you to subscribe to my YouTube channel–oldgarden–by clicking on
the subscribe button below this video. I regularly post videos with mini-demonstrations and painting
tips. I look forward to painting with you! Here’s the same scene with a quick ink sketch;
here’s the same th. . here’s a scene of Saddleback Mount . .