|Rembrandt, Self-portrait, 1657|
These are good questions. I answered the email, and then talked about it later with Todd Bonita, my friend and my workshop monitor. He suggested I publish the question, and my answer. So here they are.
Glad you've been to see the blog. I'm very excited to be going back to Scotland to paint. Grab a pal and come along! I'm told there's still enough shortbread for everyone.
And, now, on the subject of color: Life is short. The time spent in front of the motif en plein air is even shorter. And, shortest of all, is the time in front of the motif with the same light effect.
Over many years, I've modified my practice to acknowledge that I don't make better paintings as a consequence of making my own easel, grinding my own colors, or making mediums from scratch.
I should rather Rembrandt painted me a panel using a toothbrush and some black Kiwi polish, than to have a painting by many a peer whose claim to fame is that he laboriously makes his own materials. I guess, for me, it come's down to "Where's the beef?"
Thus, I'm one who wants to save time, and effort (and especially space on my wee palette), when painting out of doors.
I don't want to have to mix from scratch----when time is short and effects are fleeting----those few "go to" colors I love. It's a pointless, purist, time-waster. I'm ready to cast my lot with the belief that talent, and Kiwi, will surely win.
Prussian green: I occasionally use viridian, but my virtually-transparent Prussian green is something I use all the time, both in under-paintings, and in glazing. Try it!
We learned (at least I did) that Prussian blue is fugitive, in that its bronzey top tone will ultimately prevail over its blueness. This seemed to set up the idea that anything with Prussian in its name is suspect. In any event, only the names remain from the olden days. They are reliable colors now, with quite different formulations.
BTW, we used to make a stable cousin of Prussian blue using phthalo blue and burnt siena.
The "all you need is red, yellow, and blue, plus white" dictum is reasonably close to being right. But here's an assignment: take those four colors and make me a clear viridian.
What? You're not done yet?! It's starting to rain! Time to pack up!
Hope some of this helps.