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Keep It Light!

Tips & Tricks for Setting Up Your Palette for Vibrant, Clean Colors


Make your colors stay alive by following these few handy tips and tricks I’ve learned in the past 15 years of painting – it might just change your paintings for the better…


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When you start painting, and are confronted with a pile of paint tubes, all just waiting to have a say in your artwork, it is really easy to get overwhelmed, and try to put them all out there, just to see the pretty colors.

But keeping them in the right place, will eliminate a lot of maaahem and muddiness in your work – and it will help you focus on what you are painting, instead of trying to remember which color you were using to mix this awesome octarine color you just invented…

Here are some pointers that will help you create vibrant, clean, awesome looking colors that sing:

Use a neutral colored palette.
While intuitively one would love to use a white palette to spread out the pretty colors onto, ultimately it changes your color perception because the contrast is too stark. Same theory applies to a black palette.
Use a gray palette instead, to ensure you are seeing the colors right.
If you cannot find a gray palette, just slap some gray gesso or light gray housepaint, or acrylics onto a wooden palette, and you should be good to go.

• Make clean-up easy: cover your palette!
Would you love to spend more time painting than cleaning? Yup, me too!
The most valuable thing in my studio for that purpose is my roll of Glad Press ‘n’ Seal – maaahvelous stuff, that there. Cover your palette board with it, THEN put paint out – when you are done painting, or when the colors are all starting to blend together, pull off the old, add a new sheet, and transfer your paint to the new palette surface for a fresh start.

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•Keep your colors sorted!
Clean colors are the result of an uncluttered palette – the sooner you make a habit of keeping your colors in order, the sooner you will be able to master the art of adding light, vibrancy, and clean, clear colors to your art.

Keep complementary colors as far as possible away from each other on the palette. Having a color wheel like the one from Daler-Rowney pictured here is quite helpful in getting your colors sorted correctly. And, when you are trying to mix a certain color, the color wheel is a great reference guide for which colors to mix for certain shades of green, for example.

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Starting with your white, lay out your colors in order from light yellow, to medium yellow, to dark yellow, to orange, to red-orange, to vibrant red, to dark red, to mauve, to purple, to dark ultramarine blue, to cobalt blue, to pthalo blue, to turquoise blue, to pthalo green, to sap green, to burnt umber, for example.

You will want to be creating a “progression of color” of sorts – whether you are using 6 colors or 50 – the rule remains the same: keep like colors together in progression towards the next primary color.

•Keep opposing colors for creating neutrals or contrast
Keeping your colors clean calls for a bit of close-minded-ness: keep colors close together when mixing, to achieve vibrant colors, with almost no muddiness.

When you want to mix, say, a vibrant purple: rather than mixing a light reddish orange with your turquoise to make purple (which, in fact will render something that looks like your cat ate it, and didn’t like it either…), try mixing a red that leans towards purple, and a blue that leans towards purple together.
The resulting purple will be vibrant, clean, and quite striking, because you have introduced none of purple’s complementary color: yellow.

Check your color wheel – colors across from each other on the color wheel are complementary colors – they look great when side-by-side, and make awesome neutrals when mixed together for that purpose. But for mixing clear vibrant colors, stay close to your goal color instead.

•Place complementary colors with the intent of creating drama

Complementary colors are great for increasing the “zing!” in your artwork: place orange beside a vibrant pthalo blue  – a vibrant red beside a pthalo green – plop some bright yellow beside that purple grape…whenever you have complementary colors side-by-side, it has a striking effect. Use that to your advantage when selecting your color-scheme.

Painting a moonlit night? Make sure the moon is the right shade of yellow, to contrast with that dark blue/purple-ish sky with twinkly stars.

Painting some yummy strawberries? Make the leaves a juicy green, to make them look delicious!

 

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“SLEEPING BOOTY” by Conni Togel – oils on canvas

• Lighten color the right way!
When making color lighter, to make it look like it is lit by the sun, try using a lighter version of the color you are painting with. Mixing white into your colors will just dull them down and make them bland, instead.
For example: try starting with a stroke of ultramarine blue, add a touch of azure blue to lighten it (Azure blue has some white in it, but is still mainly blue pigment – it is opaque, so this works really well, I’ve found – I use this a LOT).
Or, try starting with a dark alizarine crimson, adding some cad red, then cad orange, then cad orange light, then yellow, then a dab of white.

This is a basic repetition of the layout of your palette – going from darks to lights just like you have them laid out on your palette, will keep your colors from going bland and blah.

Hopefully this was helpful to you – when everything turns to mud, wipe it off, and start again – or wait for it to dry, then drop in some pops of color to make it zing!

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“Dry White Whine” by Conni Togel – oils on canvas

STILL Have questions?
Email me at conni@charisma-art.com – I always love hearing from people about how these tips work for them!
Remember that I also offer private sessions to learn these tips and tricks in real life – sometimes explaining this first-hand is better than reading it online…shoot me an email to schedule a meetup somewhere near my studio in Upstate South Carolina, or near one of my shows when I am on tour: conni@charisma-art.com

CREATURE COMFORT SHEEP INCOGNITO MUG now available

CREATURE COMFORT SHEEP INCOGNITO MUG

Make your morning coffee smile at ewe – add some “Creature Comfort” to your day.
Wrap your fluffy self into a quilt of warm fuzzy feelings with a cup of coffee or tea…such a cute addition to your mug collection!

11 oz., white ceramic mug with Conni Togel’s quilting related fun Sheep Incognito art “Creature Comfort” printed on both sides, so it can be used left handed or right handed.

The perfect gift for anybody you know that needs a smile to go with their favorite beverage in a mug…

Each individual mug is safely packaged in it’s own styrofoam container, then boxed for it’s journey to your home – multiple items are boxed together.

©conni togel/sheep incognito/charisma art gallery llc
Creature Comfort Sheep Incognito Mug

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A Drop of Tennessee

Currently I am working on a rather large commission piece for some friends of mine.

I am trying to override my whimsical style for a more “grown up” flavor – it’s a challenge.

Here are a few work-in-progress pictures – would love some feedback on them.


This is where it’s currently at:


Oils on canvas, 24″x48″

Call me to inquire about commissioning your own piece of memories for your home or office! (864)634-2150

To see more of my “serious work”, visit my gallery shop under the “no sheep” section.

Encouragement for Your Day!

Today has been tedious so far – trying to set up at Tulsa International Mayfest since this morning, but strong winds have kept us at a complete standstill.


Waiting for the kings of great waterbarrels to work their magic to save the booth from flying down Mainstreet in Tulsa.

So this is my inspirational “Keep Flying Anyway” post for you – everybody needs one of those occasionally!

Title: “EWE CAN FLY!” (Which today is more accurate than we’ve had it in a while…)

Available here: SHOP NOW for “Ewe Can Fly”

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Knit Happens!

Why Knitting on the Road Might be Bad for Ewe

Yesterday I rummaged through some of my unfinished knitting projects – which, yeah….none of them are finished. There are a lot of them.

And mostly, it seems my giving up point seems to be about a quarter of the way to the finishing point.

I am not sure what the psychologists say about that – I just consider it a new scientific discovery: my therapy   has a side effect of making me uneffective. Yup.

On this trip, I brought along one of my UFOs, just in case I find myself in the passenger seat on the road through Kansas again. ALWAYS bring something to look at while driving through Kansas (because: storm watching just makes you get caught in bad Kansas weather).

This painting is my prediction about how that will go for me this year – based on my experiences with watching the weather, and getting caught in it, I rather think the knitting in Kansas might wind up like this for me:

TITLE: KNIT HAPPENS 

Oils on canvas, 11″x16″, framed, $495

New Category: Inspirational Sheep Art

New categories of smiles are waiting for ewe on the Sheep Incognito website!

To make it easier to find what “Ewe” are searching for on the Sheep Incognito website, we’ve added a new category structure to the site.

Whether you are looking for baby/nursery sheep art, something for your office, or some inspirational sheep art for someone that is down, it is now easier to find what you are looking for on the Charisma Art Gallery website.

We currently have our #SheepFling happening in the Sheep Incognito Web Shop as well: snag a flock at 15% off until May 15th!

 

via Inspirational Sheep Art

Dare to be Different Today!

Today is the day to change the world!

Sitting on the Metro in D.C. yesterday, I noticed that nobody on the train made eye-contact with anybody else. Nobody paid attention to the others. Nobody struck up a conversation. Nobody smiled.

And yet, there we were, only inches from each other, in a drab, cold, dirty environment – sharing the same breathing space, passing through each other’s lives for those few moments shared in time.

Of course, the argument could be made, that people are obnoxious, rude, cold, unfriendly, etc.
To me though, it seems that people are afraid – afraid of each other, afraid to smile, afraid to connect, afraid to step out of the comfort zone, afraid that maybe the other person might not smile back, might scowl at being engaged in a conversation, or and interaction of any kind.

Each in their own world. Each world lived in that same cold, dirty, bouncy tube running through tunnels of concrete.

A very sad, and very lonely world.

The whole ride, I was imagining the interior of the train transformed by happy colors – a beautiful sky painted on the ceiling. The handrails decorated with polka-dots and happy colors. The carpets replaced by something resembling a field of flowers. Happy music playing. The gaudy neon lights replaced with warm daylight bulbs. The cars clean, and fresh smelling. And the people, happy to ride home to their loved ones, carrying on conversations about their days at the jobs they love, or with people they enjoy being around.
Smiling at each other. Caring about the one girl that sits there all alone with a sad look on her face. Caring about the two girls from “The Hood”, whose parents obviously don’t care to know where they are or what they are doing. Caring about the young yuppie professional, with the new wedding band on his finger, and his new laptop case on his shoulder, with a nervous look on his face.

We have become so accustomed to being afraid of each other, that we have forgotten very much how much alike we are with all our fears, our concerns, and our lives in general.

It’s time to make a difference – act different – Dare to be Different!

Smile at someone.
Talk with someone.
Care about someone.

The world is never changed for the better when we don’t make the effort to make it better, each individual in their own living space.

So – put on your superhero cape, don the mask, and go fly!
You might be the only person that has smiled at that other person for the past few weeks. You might be surprised at what this does for them – and you!

Dare To Be Different Sheep Art Print
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New Sheep Painting!

There’s a new Sheep Incognito Hanging Out! (and he has pie!)

It’s Sprintime! And it means the trees have spring into bloom – and apparently, my sheep have decided to make a leap to the trees as well….wait! …this one has apple pie!

Title:” APPLE PIE IN THE SKY

Size: 12″ x 16″

Media: acrylics on canvas

Price: $450

contact my studio to purchase the original painting, or to order a custom sized, hand-embellished giclée reproduction on canvas of this one.

©conni tögel/ www.charisma-art.com

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New Calendars for 2018 are at the print shop!

Every year I create a limited edition Sheep Incognito wall calendar. And the one for 2018 has just hitthe  printer’s desk – hopefully to be finished before the big Maryland Sheep and Wool festival.

They will be hot off tge press there!

Let me know if ewe would like us to hold one for ewe!

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BLACK SHEEP DOG – Woof!

via Black Sheep Dog PRINT

BLACK SHEEP DOG

Prints on paper and canvas giclées in limited edition are selling out!

An older painting I did years ago – we only have a few more prints in the edition left.

This little guy might just remind you of your dog – or the neighbor’s dog – or the neighbor’s sheep – or, that bone marrow tastes yummy…
Whatever it is that draws you to the “Black Sheep Dog”, I love hearing about it.

He might be one of the reasons I started creating my digital pet portraits recently (click here to see some samples or to order your own) – they have given me opportunity to capture the different characters and personalities of peoples’ dogs, and they are so much fun to create!

 

Black Sheep Dog Print by Conni Togel Image

Black Sheep Dog Print by Conni Togel