the columns hotel

I stayed at the Columns Hotel on St. Charles Ave and they let me set up and paint. The lobby has a beautiful dark wood desk and staircase, high ceilings, subdued lighting, it's absolutely beautiful. I started it in New Orleans and have been painting on it back in LA. I'll post a shot of how it started, and how it looks now; on location I kept the paint thin and washy, now I can paint more precisely with opaque paint. It really is a fun color experiment and everything that I tell my students and painting from life and memory. I squeeze out my colors, for this painting mainly yellow ochre, burnt sienna, burnt umber, winsor violet, ultramarine, and thalo green, and mix tints of each of them with white making a pile at a value just a little lighter than yellow ochre; this takes about five minutes tops but it pays off. There is a big value jump between the lightest lights of the lamps and the ambient light of the room, but that is what is essential to mood. So with my paints mixed to this certain value, I allow myself no more white. I have to mix a color that "feels" like white in the ambient light of the room, but with these seemingly dark piles of paint. That sets the key of the painting, like putting a capo on a guitar. So with the lightest you can go with your value limit, you mix a color for "white", for the Columns I picked a very warm color because that was the feeling there, but whatever hue you pick for "white", orange-y or blue-y or whatever, sets the color key for the painting and determines the key of the rest of the local colors which are all obviously darker in some way than your "white". I'm convinced it's something Rembrandt did when he blocked in his paintings, it helps you orchestrate the lights. work in progress, oil on canvas, 24 by 18

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