Sunday, September 12, 2010

Prismatic Palette Painters

Frank J. Reilly was another artist who studied with Frank Dumond. He also started his own art school, the Frank Reilly School of Art, that continued the tradition of a controlled prismatic palette. Students would mix a very exact palette of value scales. One of the artists that joined us in the June landscape group, Randy, came from this background. Dumond's influence on plein air painting is huge.

Fran Hoyt studied with Frank Dumond in the 20s and 30s, and continued to paint and teach the Dumond palette to serious students for decades. Gil Perry studied with Fran, and he also painted with our group this June.

It was so much fun to meet and paint with other artists who use the prismatic palette.


jeff said...

Hi Karen,
I think it's important to note that while Frank Reilly did study with DuMond his ideas on palettes are not fully based on the same ideas DuMond was using. Reilly developed his palette after studying Munsell and his palette is a closed one based on fixed values for studio painting.

He did have a landscape palette but I have not seen anyone who uses it.

Jack Faragasso and Michael Aviano are a few of the painters who use the Reilly palette.

The other main proponent is Marvin Mattelson who uses a palette that is based on Reilly and his studies of Paxton.

The DuMond palette is based on Cadmium's and all the value strings are related to them.

I look at the DuMond, Mason, Maynard palette as a mixture of both, but it is more of an open palette than closed.

Landscape painting in the field is not particularly a good place for premixed closed palettes. At least this is my experience. In the studio it's a different situation.

This is why the DuMond, Mason palette is so versatile as it combines rational value strings based on local HCV and relates it to an open palette.

In the John Carlson book, “Guide to Landscape Painting” he mentions DuMond and bases his palette on a prismatic palette as well. The main difference is that instead of using all the cads, he uses both earth yellows and reds with the cads. Instead if using Cad red medium he uses Indian Red. He also has Burnt Sienna on his palette which I now can't do without.

Another painter who used a prismatic palette was JoaquĆ­n Sorolla who used a large full spectrum palette. He used a smaller earth based palette in the studio.

Sorolla' Outdoor palette:
cobalt violet,
rose madder,
all the cadmium reds,
cadmium orange,
all the cadmium yellows,
yellow ochre,
chrome green (since replaced by permanent green light),
Prussian blue,
cobalt blue
French ultramarine.
In both cases, he used lead white

Great post and a great subject!

Karen Winslow said...

Thanks, Jeff.

I think that each teacher/artist coming from this tradition "owns" the palette and changes and adjusts it to suit his/her own temperament. I will often keep the prism, but sometimes make it "quiet" by using various earths. When I was in Frank's class in the 70s, we used combinations, too. it isn't a stagnate. It changes to fit the situation.

For me, I see the prismatic palette as, well, a prism (the rainbow). There are bright rainbows and subtle rainbows within the idea of the prismatic palette. So, a cadmium palette of yellows and reds will give you a bright rainblow, and an earth pale of yellows and reds will give you a subtle rainbow.

DuMond said, "Silently glowing over the whole landscape is a rainblow."

jeff said...

What is amazing to me is how far and wide DuMond's influence is.
Even painters who never heard of him and have used Carslon's book are using ideas that come from DuMond.

I agree, the prismatic palette and the thinking that goes along with, is a great way to think.

I have been replacing Yellow Ocher with Mars Yellow and I have found that it's a better color for this space. It's almost the same value and it has more intensity but can be easily toned down. It works great with the Cads.