Since its founding, Gamblin Artists Colors has handcrafted
luscious oil colors and contemporary mediums true to the working
properties of traditional materials, yet safer and more permanent.
Gamblin’s dedication to today’s oil painters extends beyond offering the
finest possible materials – they believe in sharing their knowledge so
painters can choose those materials that best support their own artistic
Understanding Contemporary Oil Painting Materials, a 90 minute Lecture Demonstration will cover the following:
Color Theory – 2-dimensional vs 3-dimensional Color Space
Color Mixing – Navigating Color Space: Gamblin’s practical approach to color mixing
Artist’s Oil Colors – Gamblin’s approach to color making
Mineral vs Modern Pigments – How to create a personalized palette of colors
Indirect vs Direct Techniques – Historical application of opaque and transparent colors
FastMatte Alkyd Oil Colors – Benefits and uses of fast-drying, matte oil colors
1980 Oil Colors – True Color. Real Value.
Painting Mediums – Choosing the right medium, including working properties and drying rates
Building Permanent Paintings – Understanding Fat Over Lean
Supports, Sizing and Grounds – How they affect color and permanence
Studio Safety – Create without compromise in a safe studio
Gamblin Artist Colors will provide each attendee with a FREE sample bag including products and literature.
About the Presenter
Timothy Robert Smith is a Los Angeles based oil painter and muralist, using observational techniques to portray a multi-dimensional perspective of the universe. Since recently graduating from Laguna College of Art and Design with an MFA in studio art, he has had two exhibitions at Copro Gallery in Bergamot Station. He currently teaches at CSU Los Angeles, where he received his BFA degree. Timothy’s artwork can be viewed at www.timothyrobertsmith.com.
Oil painters are increasingly invested in the craftsmanship of their artwork. An accomplished and experienced oil painter recently asked us about Gamblin Ground, and why they would use it instead of or in addition to regular gesso. Creating a strong foundation for imagery is an important consideration, and Gamblin Oil Painting Ground creates the perfect foundation for contemporary oil painters. Below are notes on the key characteristics of Gamblin Ground, application tips, and notes about shelf life.
Gamblin Ground Gamblin Oil Painting Ground makes a strong, bright, non-absorbent foundation for oil paintings. Gamblin Ground is formulated from alkyd resin, titanium dioxide, and calcium carbonate – titanium dioxide gives opacity, while calcium carbonate gives tooth for strong adhesion.
Gamblin Ground makes a brighter and less-absorbent ground layer compared to acrylic “gesso” – meaning that oil paint layers on top retain better color saturation. Gamblin Ground can be applied to a “pre-primed” acrylic gesso canvas or panel to make a good painting support a great one.
Not every day is Christmas… We all have a collection of less-than-successful paintings that shouldn’t see the light of day. Since Gamblin Ground is oil-based, it can be used to cover old paintings so the support can be re-used. We recommend roughing up the old painting with sandpaper or steel wool, followed by wiping the surface with a rag wet with Gamsol before the Ground is applied. This will ensure proper adhesion.
Application Because the percentage of pigments is so much higher than in acrylic “gesso”, painters need only apply TWO thin coats of Gamblin Ground instead of the recommended four coats of acrylic. Fabric supports should be sized with PVA Size before applying Gamblin Ground.
Gamblin Ground is thicker than acrylic gesso, and requires different application techniques, which are demonstrated on Gamblin’s Video Demos page.
Shelf Life, Formulation Improvements. We have heard from painters who’ve experienced Gamblin Ground skinning over in the can, and Gamblin has taken steps to mitigate this by managing formula solvent levels and drying rate. They have also improved the Ground by lowering its odor. Ongoing tests show that formula adjustments over the past two years have resulted in reduced skinning and improved shelf life.
Still, Oil Painting Ground is formulated to dry faster than oil colors, and it doesn’t discriminate between drying on a canvas and in the can. Gamblin date stamps the bottom of each can. Painters, please remove the wax paper seal after the first use, drizzle a little Gamsol on the surface of the Ground and cover with a plastic seal (i.e. Ziplock baggie cut to fit). This will help prevent skinning in the can by limiting the Ground’s contact with oxygen.
Gamblin Radiants work together as a system of accent colors, enabling artists to easily and predictably punch-up the color and intensity in their paintings. When used in mixtures, the Radiants allow painters to warm-up or cool-down colors without darkening them. Radiants can also neutralize colors into more nuanced mixtures.
Gamblin Radiant Colors are composed of eight intense tints – mixtures of pure color and white, at Value 7 on the Munsell System. In this page, we share how the Radiant Colors came to be and we showcase how painters utilize Radiant Colors in their work.
Development: a Radiant collaboration
Gamblin Radiant Colors were developed out of Robert Gamblin’s friendship with painter Wolf Kahn. Wolf’s landscapes are spoken in the language of pure color – the natural world is expressed through a vibrant palette and bold shapes. Wolf is just as fluent in working with soft pastels as he is in oil paint. As pastels are a “dry” medium, one would have sticks of pure pigment (Ultramarine Blue, for example) plus several tints of that pigment at different values. Wolf took the same approach to his oil color palette – incorporating pure colors from the tube alongside lighter tints. Robert worked with Wolf in developing the eight intense tints that became known as Radiants.
Each of the Radiant Colors are tints of modern organic pigments. The one exception is Radiant Blue, which is a tint of Ultramarine. Modern organic pigments retain their intensity in tints in mixtures, which is the reason the Radiant Colors maintain such a high chroma at their light values. It’s also worth noting that these modern organic pigments are transparent in nature, yet the Radiant Colors are all opaque, due to the addition of titanium white in their formulas.
Radiant White: the brightest of whites
Gamblin Radiant White is pure titanium dioxide bound in safflower oil. Radiant White is the brightest white oil color Gamblin makes. Safflower is paler than linseed oil which means that Radiant White is not only brighter, but it is more neutral in temperature compared to linseed oil-bound whites. With its high load of titanium dioxide, Radiant White reflects back 97% of the light that falls on it.
Without modification, Radiant White is Gamblin’s most brushable white – meaning it has the least amount of resistance under the brush or painting knife. Radiant White is also slower drying than other whites, making it useful for painters who wish to work wet into wet or otherwise desire more open time.
Radiant Turquoise, Radiant Violet, and Radiant Blue have become my first “go-to” colors for lightening values when cooler colors are needed. Rather than heading straight for my Titanium White, these colors serve me better because all three are cool, very light, and intense and they help with neutralizing colors. For example, if I am trying to neutralize Napthol Red and do not want a dark, warmer color (as I would get if mixed with its complement, Green), I add Radiant Turquoise. The result is a rich, cooler, mid-value color.
Napthol Red mixed with Radiant Turquoise:
Similarly, I can get a more natural violet by mixing Radiant Blue with my Napthol.
Napthol Red mixed with Radiant Blue:
Mixing with Radiant Turquoise vs. Titanium White:
By lightening Quinacridone Violet with Radiant Turquoise instead of Titanium White, I will get more nuanced color mixing. The mixture of Quinacridone Violet and Radiant Turquoise passes through the blue section of the color wheel, yielding beautifully subtle mid-value blues. When Quinacridone Violet is mixed with straight white, the corresponding tints remain in violet hue family.
Here I use mixtures of Quinacridone Violet and Radiant Turquoise in this painting of snow on a sunny day:
Warm and cool Radiant mixtures
Try this: mix Cadmium Orange with Radiant Turquoise in one pile and with Radiant Violet in another. These two greys will be the same value, but one will appear cooler and the other warmer. When placed next to one another in the distant landscape, the beauty of a late afternoon mountain comes to life.
When I started experimenting with Gamblin’s line of Radiant colors, I expected they would end up in the “occasional use” drawer. To my surprise, I found myself employing them in nearly every painting—especially figurative works—with Radiant Green and Radiant Turquoise claiming permanent spots on my palette. Some of the others (like Radiant Red and Violet) join the party almost as often. Whenever I teach or give a portrait demo, the first thing people ask me about are “those bright colors” on my palette and how to use them.
I find Radiant Green and Radiant Turquoise particularly useful in adjusting the hue and/or temperature within a painting, while maintaining light values. Others in the Radiant line, such as Radiant Violet and Radiant Red, are almost impossible to substitute. The Radiant Violet is very cold in color temperature. I’ve seen nothing else like it on the market. Depending on the nature of the light source, Radiant Violet and/or Radiant Red are often the perfect choice for painting the brightest highlights on a model without having to default to titanium white.
In this passage of a recent alla prima portrait (below), you can see a subtle light blue along the temple area and around the eye socket. In those areas where there is a plane change, gradually turning away from the light, the color becomes cooler, but not necessarily darker. This was a perfect opportunity to use Radiant Turquoise.
In addition to creating luscious skin tones, the Radiant line is great for nailing local color. The little boy in this portrait (below) was wearing a white and sea-green shirt, and sat outdoors on an overcast day (so cool light). Instead of mixing white with Phthalo or some other darker color, I was able to use Radiant Green almost straight out of the tube for that shirt. Additionally, you can see passages in his face and throughout the painting (leaves, stone steps, etc.) where I mixed the green and turquoise in, creating an overall harmony for the piece.
In this portrait of Colquitt (below), I used Radiant Violet all over the background (in front of a light transparent wash of ivory black), and for the bold highlight in the middle of his forehead.
Radiant colors are invaluable for cooling down a color mixture without getting a darker value and for obtaining bright highlight or local colors without having to use a ton of white. Whether or not you are painting from life, the Radiant colors are wonderful shortcuts for all of your “high key” needs.
Check out this video where Richard and Darin of R&F Handmade Paints talk about things that affect the drying rates of R&F Pigment Sticks. Probably one of the most frequently asked questions we get about Pigment Sticks is, how long they take to dry compared to oil paint out of a tube. Don’t forget that R&F Pigment Sticks are ON SALE at 15% OFF during our MOVING SALE.
Charles Forsberg demonstrates how Pigment Sticks by R&F Handmade Paints are both a drawing and painting medium like no one else. He frequently returns to drawing, forcefully striking marks into the heavily manipulated buttery paint, then tearing it apart, alternating in a push-pull sequence of drawing and smearing, scraping back, revealing previous drawing marks, and piling what he has scraped up into thick sculptural mounds.
Painting becomes an amazing and unceasing gestural exercise over many hours, as Forsberg turns the formless ooze he started with into a powerful structure of shapes and sharply accented marks. www.charlesforsberg.com/
As part of our MOVING SALE, R&F Pigment Sticks are ON SALE at 15% OFF, including all R&F Pigment Stick Sets. The 6-color sets come packaged in a 6½” × 7½” cradled Ampersand Gessobord with six (6) 38ml pigment sticks. The 12-color set coms in a 8″ × 12″ Ampersand Gessobord with twelve (12) 38ml pigment sticks.
Attention oil painters! If you missed the last still life painting session at Grand Central Market the Roofless Painters are at it again! So what do you say, want to join other artists and paint some produce? Join Roofless Painters for a still life workshop at the one and only Grand Central Market, in DTLA’s Historic Core this Saturday, April 27th from 6-8pm. The Roofless Painters will set up easel stations around the produce stands of one of the market’s vendors and paint them from life. The workshop is $50, and all painting materials are supplied (medium-OIL). Setup and clean-up is on them, too – just show up and paint!
We first met the Roofless Painters at the 2016 Los Angeles Plein Air Festival, when artist Julio Panisello won the Grand Prize for his oil painting of Angel’s Flight. A talented artist, Julio is also a beloved educator and the inspirational founder/leader of Roofless Painters, a nomadic painting atelier in Los Angeles.
Happy Plein Air-pril! Have you always wanted to try busting out of your art studio and painting en plein air? Or has it just been a while since you’ve been out painting? Either way, you’re in luck! Thanks to Royal Talens, artist Justin Vining walks you through the basics of getting started with plein air painting. Let’s get started!
Less is More – Design a simple/lean setup. This will enable you to go to farther, cooler places and make it easier to just get out and go on a whim!
Start out with a Limited/Split Primary Palette – A warm & cool red, yellow, blue, titanium white, and perhaps a burnt umber or burnt sienna. You don’t need to carry a black- true black is rarely found in nature.
Brushes – I prefer hog bristle long filberts & long flats. Start out your painting with a big brush and save your small brushes for the very end.
Painting Surface – I like using panels outside as they are more compact, and durable with no risk of puncture. Carrying a canvas through tricky outdoor terrain can become risky.
Start Thin (Grisaille Layer) – Your first layer is almost like not painting at all- scrub in a “dirty” dry value that begins to describe the composition and form.
Think in the Most Basic Shapes – Squint really hard at almost any scene and you can quickly break it down into 2 or 3 big shapes of value. Use these shapes to start your painting.
Mixing Colors – I will generally premix 3-5 of my major colors and then start mixing the variations off those main ones. Put some color on the end of your palette knife and hold it up to what you are trying to match it to. Squint real hard to check value and color accuracy.
Headlamp (hiking out in dark)
Summer – bug spray, suntan lotion
Spring/Fall – waterproof boots/poncho
Nocturne – 2 piano lights in case natural street lamp light is not an option
Winter – ultra warm gloves & boots are the key here, its easy to keep the core warm, its a lot harder to keep your feet and hands dry and warm
Below are the colors that make up Justin’s Rembrandt Oils palette. We also recommend using Van Gogh Oil Colors by Royal Talens, an oil paint that offers Royal Talens quality at an economical price. The same high quality pigments that are used in Rembrandt Oils are used here, only in lower concentration.
411 Burnt Sienna
409 Burnt Umber
406 Ultramarine Deep
342 Brown Madder Deep
377 Perm Red Medium
227 Yellow Ochre
208 Cad Yellow Light
118 Titanium White
We hope this helps you get started with plein air painting and that you try painting the urban landscapes around Raw Materials. Now, go paint!
Justin Vining is an Indianapolis-based artist, specializing and landscapes and cityscapes. Justin studied Art Education at Purdue University and taught elementary art for three years. Following his tenure as a teacher, Justin attended Valparaiso Law school, where he rekindled his love for creating between classes and clerking. Shortly after graduating and passing the bar in 2010, Justin decided to pursue art full time and hasn’t looked back since. See his work here.
It’s time again for School Me Saturday, our informal art school of sorts, and today we’re learning all about Gamblin Artists’ Oil Color‘s range of red oil colors:
Along with black and white, red made up the palette of pre-historic times. The combination of iron and oxygen is not only responsible for the red that flows through us but also the red in the landscape – the latter of which exists on Gamblin palettes in the form of Burnt Sienna, Venetian Red and Indian Red.
“I chose Cadmium Red Light as our company color, after reading Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art, which declares that yellow advances, blue recedes, green is at rest, and red vibrates in place. I saw Cadmium Red Light as vibrating with tremendous potential, which is what I hope our colors do for artists – to give them the potential to be their best with high energy.” — Robert Gamblin
From valuable earth colors, to bright and opaque Cadmium Red Light, to the cool transparency of Quinacridone, Gamblin Reds vary greatly in terms of their chroma, temperature, opacity and transparency. Below are all of Gamblin’s reds mapped out in Color Space:
MINERAL REDS Brown Pink (PR101, PR149), TRANSPARENT Burnt Sienna (PBr7), SEMI-TRANSPARENT Cadmium Red Light (PR108), OPAQUE Cadmium Red Medium (PR108), OPAQUE Cadmium Red Deep (PR108), OPAQUE Indian Red (PR101), OPAQUE Portland Warm Grey (PW6, PR101, PBk11), OPAQUE Transparent Earth Red (PR101), TRANSPARENT Venetian Red (PR101), OPAQUE
MODERN REDS Alizarin Permanent (PR177), TRANSPARENT Napthol Red (PR112), SEMI-TRANSPARENT Napthol Scarlet (PR188), SEMI-TRANSPARENT Perylene Red (PR149), TRANSPARENT Quinacridone Magenta (PR122), TRANSPARENT Quinacridone Red (PV19), TRANSPARENT Radiant Magenta (PV19, PW6), OPAQUE Radiant Red (PV149, PW6), OPAQUE
Alizarin Permanent – closer to its namesake
If we had to consolidate all of the feedback we’ve received over the years regarding Alizarin Permanent, it’s that painters miss the chroma of traditional Alizarin Crimson in tints and mixtures.
Gamblin Alizarin Permanent was a mixture of anthraquinone red (PR177) and a small amount of phthalo emerald (PG36) which was in the mix to deepen the mass tone of the color. It’s such a small amount and this pigment is so sensitive to the pressure of the mill, that we felt that AP was getting too dark, especially compared to traditional Alizarin Crimson. Alizarin Crimson has always been our target for the color of Alizarin Permanent.
So, we moved AP to a single pigment (PR177) formula. Not only does this make it closer to the masstone and transparency of Alizarin Crimson, but it is higher in chroma in tints and mixtures. If you want to match the darker formula, add a very small amount of either Chromatic Black or Phthalo Emerald.