state represents about two hours of
physically moving paint on the canvas.
I started this piece slowly, using burnt umber to streak in large masses of tone, then wiping them back out and restating the large shapes until I felt both the gesture and the composition were working well. I then mixed a batch of a cool blue-tinted gray on my palette and blended this as needed with the warmer colors to lower the tones and keep the hues quiet and harmonious as I began refining the forms and light and dark shapes. After painting for several years with student grade Daler Rowney Georgian oils, I've switched to artist's quality M. Graham Oils, which contain much finer and stronger pigments. The unaccustomed strength of the Graham paints requires careful mixing on the palette to control the tonal values of the colors and avoid an (in this case) unwanted circus poster intensity. The rich luster of the Graham pigments aren't muddied or dimmed by this mixing though, they retain a subtle radiance even in very low tonal harmonies.
We meet again tomorrow morning for another three hour session--I'll post the results.