Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Old Red Chevy

The Old Red Chevy  (1948)
6x8in oil on canvas panel SOLD

Artist Note
The inspiration for this one comes from
the Lets Paint New Mexico group.
February 14th Challenge
The original photo was of a 
rusty blue truck -
 beautifully rusty - but as the theme 
this month at the Artists Guild 
was on painting
I thought I would demo
red in the sun and shade.

In my opinion,
Red is one of the hardest 
colors to paint in the light
without going chalky or 
losing its local color and turning
due to adding 
too much white.

 These are the colors I used
for the truck.
Permanent Alizarin
(with a whisper of green
from all the trees around)
to darken into shadow.
Permanent Red and Grumbacher Red
as base colors
then I
added orange with a touch
of Naples Yellow  Light
to make it
even lighter.

The basic principle involved
when painting a dark value like red
is that it cannot possibly go as light
as a middle or light value can. 

The exception being highlights 
or reflective light on shiny surface.

I really admire this painting by Sargent
using all the values of red.
The background is rich, dark red.

Dr. Pozzi At Home
 Hammer Museum, CA
An amazing, life sized portrait.

notice how dark a value
the red in the light is

The one below is by Gauguin.

Women of Tahiti, on The Beach
Musee d'Orsay, Paris.

It  is perfect for
showing red in light and shadow 
pink in light and shadow.
Pink can go lighter due to it already
being a lighter
value to start with.

Easy to write about, but not as easy for me to do.

I am always intrigued how the principles
are followed by the masters in every style.

I have certainly picked
the pursuit of lifelong learning.
Does anyone else love the fact
that we  artists can keep
getting better at our craft...forever?


  1. Wonderful!!! I love that you used red for the truck and that you can see the variety of reds you used. Nice to see touches of red elsewhere in the painting that move your eye around.

    1. Such a nice comment - thanks, Joan. I think it is pretty amazing you are
      participating in a 100 figure challenge. 20 a day and your first day's results were awesome. You captured each unique features rather than making everyone look the same. Good luck with it.

  2. Bonjour chère Julie,

    J'apprécie énormément les mots que vous utilisez pour parler de la difficulté de peindre les rouges, de leur apporter la lumière, les ombres, les contrastes à la juste hauteur.
    Même à photographier, ils nous font souffrir ! Pourtant je les aime !...
    J'aime beaucoup cette peinture avec le camion, où la force du rouge ne tue pas l'environnement. Il est présent mais juste ce qu'il faut. Il vit aussi grâce aux couleurs qui l'entourent. Une belle complémentarité !

    Que pensez-vous des rouges de Matisse ?

    Gros bisous 🌸

  3. Here are Martine Allisons
    I really appreciate the words you use to speak of the difficulty of painting the red, to give them light, shadows, contrasts to the correct height.
    Even to photograph, they make us suffer! Yet I love them! ...
    I love this painting with the truck, where the force of the red does not kill the environment. It is present but just right. He also lives off the colors around it. A natural fit!
    What do you think of the red Matisse?

    1. I have always admired your use of color so this comment means a lot. Thank you, dear Martine. Is it the Red Room by Matisse you refer to. My opinion is one word...brilliant!

  4. So pretty Julie! Love that old time truck!

  5. AaaH! I am just starting a large painting that will be all red(s) Looks like a tester for me then!! I have to finish the current WIP before I find out.

    Trouble is you make it look so easy, and the "1948 Chevy" is a perfect example: the way you handle the reds belies the degree of difficulty.......HOWEVER, the information you give on the mixing of reds etc will - I hope - help me in what might end up as a Rosy Red Blob!

    I love the background as much as the Chevy though ... a really delightful piece of magic all round.

    Thanks for sharing the information and the painting.

    1. Saw the painting - it's going to be another winner. Very special.
      Of course you have very special feelings for the model and that shines through.
      Loved seeing the Newport Boat Club. Verrry lovely area. I totally enjoyed reading the post...and admit to envy!

    2. No (but thank you anyway)... the red painting is still a charcoal sketch :)

  6. A beautiful truck with some red accents and neutrals for background. Very nicely designed.

    In thinking about red, which is a hard color for me to deal with, maybe I can think about how to start on the value scale. If you know red in the light must be towards the darker end of the scale (in order to not have it go pink), you could key everything else from that I would guess. You would get a greater range of lights wouldn't you? And you would get to really employ temperature too.

    Sargent's work is beautiful. You can really see the temperature/shadow-light thing happening can't you?

    Good post!

    1. What a great comment - thanks for the sharing your observations on Red, Libby. I agree - the base value of any color is the key.
      The Sargent painting is in LA (A. Hammer Museum) and blows the mind with its harmony. Sargent's hands are not my favorite area on a man - the elongated fingers seem more suitable on a fashionable woman. But still gorgeously painted.
      I really enjoyed seeing the range of wonderful yellow/golds on your new work. The small area of soft neutral blue makes it PERFECT!

  7. Wonderful post Julie. Isn't that a beautiful thing about painting? We find joy in continuing to grow always, an endless journey.

    1. We are feeling the joy - yes and joy is what I felt reading your fun post.
      Thanks, Bruce.

  8. Dear Julie - what a great post on the color red. It does seem to be a difficult color to work with for me as well. I love just may not love me. Seeing your truck and the different values you achieved just inspires me to keep practicing. I have so much to learn. Maybe someday I can come study with you. That would certainly be a dream come true. Hugs!

    1. Yes - red is not easy if a larger area but small areas it can be delightful
      and easy to do.
      Like the red frisbee!
      Your work is always so beautiful and would love to see more of it.
      Would love for you to come and visit, dear Debbie. What a treat that would be.

  9. I love your cheeky red truck, and you have perfectly balanced the background to compliment its vibrance. (How different it would have been if you had painted the truck its actual blue!) Once again, your narrative is both insightful and instructive. Finally, I certainly agree that it's delightful to pursue an activity that continues to challenge us -- even if we sometimes find ourselves exasperated by those "growing pains."

    1. Cheeky red truck - I adore that!
      Ah, yes...the exasperated part of it. Good job it doesn't last long.
      Looking forward to your next painting, Helene. Thanks for the wonderful comment.

  10. How big topic that artists pass their lives to improve until the last ...
    I believe that artists are researchers in their expressive world so they will continue to vary, at the same time,how feeling and how expressing this world with the technique. Red management is very difficult. Learning from you and masters that you showed us is very inspiring. Sending hugs,dear Julie.

    1. Your thoughts are profound and ring true , dear Rita.
      Congratulations of your 700,000 views to your posts.
      By their fruit they shall be known....
      Sending hugs back with thanks.

  11. love Sargent, if i was painting more I would be trying to learn everything about him

    I guess we could just stop learning and never want to improve, and some people do, but i do find on the whole, we (artists) are never 100% happy with what we do so want to find ways to improve. there are so many artists dead and alive to learn from and so many different ways to create that being an artist is def a life long learning process, well unless we strike it rich and never want to do anything different :p

    1. When I went to art school in England they looked down on Sargent as being too "facile " but the contemporary/abstract movement was in full swing.
      Now he has been in vogue for quite a while. They come and go.
      I agree completely with what you wrote until I got to strike it you know anyone personally that did?

    2. no, no one personally but a lot of the "it" contemporary artists did and still do what sells but the fad for contemporary art seems to be slowing down. they are not getting as much as they use to for their work.

      Sargent is still under appreciated sadly by a lot of people.Johannes Vermeer is another one I think that doesn't get enough recognition, well besides that one painting most people have seen. There are so many older artists that need to be more well known, I've even known people to have no idea who Gauguin is or who Caravaggio is.

      I've never understood why so many artists do not look into other artists not in their chosen field or medium. then again, I do know of more contemporary and old school artists than graphic designers lol my excuse is I spent 30plus years focusing on fine art and illustration, only 2 on graphic design lol

    3. Love the fact that you continue a dialog, Jennifer. Never too rambly ( love that term)
      The art education in schools over here are being cut back or even cut out completely. Art History is doomed unless at university. Shame.

    4. at uni, we are expected to go off and find things out on are own, no time or budget to teach us art history, even graphic design history. they will tell us who we should be looking for but we have to do the leg work

      we were taught a bit in college, but I honestly learned more in high school, but thankfully I went to high schools were the arts were important. I know not everyone is that lucky and its probably changed now due to budget cuts :/

  12. I love that red truck Julie !!!! Beautiful reds and texture!

    1. Thanks so much Hilda. Happy you like it!
      Enjoy your week and can't wait to see your next painting.

  13. My heart sang when I saw the truck! I love old trucks and cars. You're so right. I love the fact that I will always be learning and improving my craft forever. One of the reasons I love it so much!

    1. I bet you can paint a great truck, Sharon. So good to hear from you.
      Hope your community is continuing to heal after such a devastating storm.

  14. A wonderful painting, love the red car and all the light . The whole scene makes me think of a quiet sunday afternoon in the fifties when the family is inside having lunch :-)

    1. Ah..the fifties. That was a time before all the distractions of the electronic era. Watching an Australian series set in the fifties - A place To Call Home. Very good!

  15. The red is shining like a diamond Julie, thanks for sharing the colors. I think the artistic journey is never ending only if there is an intention to learn more and more,the intention matters and you have been inspiring me to do just that!

    1. It is always a pleasure to visit with you, Padmaja.
      Thank you for the lovely complement and sharing your agreement about life-long learning.
      I am totally loving the more abstract way you are painting. More vitality in the mark making must mean you are feeling better. Fingers crossed.

  16. Julie, the red truck is the perfect touch. And I agree with you on being a life-long learner. I will cease to exist when I stop learning.

    1. I love what you wrote - cease to exist... perfectly put.
      Hope you are are successful at fixing pianos as you are with words. It is actually interesting to see your little videos and follow the storyline. Good for you.

  17. I always learn so much from your posts, Julie - and I have always felt you were a true master of red. This wonderful red truck proves just that!

    1. As always - so kind. Thank you, Susan.
      I enjoyed seeing the steps taken in your new portrait. Amazing. Truly, I mean it. I love visiting your blog.

  18. Replies
    1. Thanks, Ashok. Your new photo is stunning. Love the color of the red dirt.

  19. Your painting is beautiful, Julie! The color of the neutral in the house goes so perfectly with the red, and I really love how you added the rose bush. I feel like it helps to keep my eye moving into the painting. Your explanation is wonderful and I appreciate seeing the photographs to highlight what you are saying. It is hard to put it into practice, but this is really going to help me. Yes, I feel like I will personally never be able to know enough. I am forever stuck in the student of art stage, I do love it!

    1. Thanks for the great comment and noticing the red traveling around. I can tell you will also be a life long student of painting. There is an abundance of joy in your work.

  20. A beautiful sight for sore eyes! Love it, Julie!


I love that you are taking the time to comment and thank you for it. I am sure other readers will enjoy them too. If you cannot comment through this format then email me at