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Disposing of Paint, Composition Rules & A Funny Story

Nov 19, 2019

"What is the best earth-friendly way to dispose of your paints?"

Sara asked, "What is the best earth-friendly way to dispose of your paints in your water?" When I lived in Vancouver, BC, they did a really great job of having paint recycling places, and it was a free opportunity for anybody. You could bring any kind of paints that you had and just drop it off there. They would deal with it. When I was living there I was a house painter so I would bring my old house paints there. 

10:11 There might be something in your city or neighborhood. But there are other good ways of rinsing, washing and getting rid of the water.

Here are some resources about disposing of paint:

How To Dispose of Acrylic Paint Rinse Water

Removing Water-Based Paint Solids from Rinse Water

Disposing of Acrylic Material

One of our members shared this helpful information:


"Can we see some of your early paintings?"

"Can you show us some of your early paintings, that you did before you were 20 years in to your art career?" Yes! You can see some of my journey here. Hopefully that will be helpful for you and I'm happy to do that. 

"Should I use Quinacridone Magenta or Quinacridone Red when painting outside?"

 11:50 "Do you require Quinacridone Magenta or Quinacridone Red for the plein air palette? I am actually moving towards Quinacridone Red and away from Quinacridone Magenta. There's a color in the Golden brand called Primary Magenta, and the pigment is the same as Quinacridone Red - PV19. I'm trying to limit my palette so that I don't have to carry around all sorts of paints. I want to have a red that will move either direction pretty well. Cadmium Red is really orange, and Quinacridone Magenta is really violet. Quinacridone Red is in the middle and goes in both directions pretty well. 

14:00 I do want to check out a Golden color called Primary Magenta because it's the same pigment as Quinacridone Red, except a tad bit deeper. The tricky thing with the paints is how they change names in different companies. Or they have the same name but different pigments. It can be very confusing.

"Do you have any basic rules you follow for composition?"

"Do you have any basic rules you follow for composition? There are so many rules out there, it's hard to keep track, or is it best just to go with whatever looks good?" At the end of the day, the only rule that actually matters is, does your painting look good? Does the design work? You can find a 1000 rules about design, but if you break them all, and you still have a good painting, then you succeeded. That doesn't mean that the design rules are to be ignored. I'm saying that what really matters at the end of the day is whether or not your painting looks good. Does is "read" well? Does it draw you in as a viewer? 

17:20 This is an old book and I don't necessarily recommend you buying it because it's expensive. Probably $50. The most helpful thing is not reading it, but looking at these little diagrams. The artist is Edgar Payne, a famous California artist. It's called, "Composition of Outdoor Painting."

You can see there's an S pattern, and a lot of times that's used with a river or a road. Here's a circular design, a balance design. There's so many examples of different things and the way that things can work.

19:06 Would you guys love to have a design course? That's something I think is crucial. We don't want to make courses that aren't appropriate and helpful. We really do want to make courses that members are eager about and excited about. So, if you're interested in a course on design and composition of a painting, then please let us know. 

20:19 When I think about a painting, the very first thing that stands out to me is the design. That's why I'm always squinting my eyes or I take a photograph of it and look at it on my phone (that simplifies the design so much.) 

21:44 There's a lot that we could talk about with design because it can be hard to look at a photograph and determine whether or not it looks good. You ask yourself, "Okay, in this huge landscape, how can we figure out what we should paint?" 

Story About Design

22:56 I was taking a class from an oil artist named John Michael Carter. At the time he was the President of the Oil Painters of America, which is a pretty prestigious organization. He had been painting for 40 years, and I fell in love with him because he was really funny. He had a super dry sense of humor and he was a great teacher too.

23:38 One day I was painting and I had set up my easel outside of a house in a yard. There was an empty lot and then there was a yard. In the backyard of this house there were clothes lines.

And I had taken some clothes and found some towels and some different items from the different people that were in our group. There was a church right behind us that we were using as our center, so I grabbed some towels from that, and I put them out on the clothes line. I wanted to paint this scene - the cool blue house and the clothes swaying in the wind. It was a nice sunny day and I started.

John Michael Carter comes up behind me and really softly says to me, "Well, if I'd asked you to paint this in the most boring way possible, you couldn't have done it any better." Then he took my paint brush and with about four or five brush strokes changed the design which changed the whole painting.

That's the power of design. Sometimes we're just looking at what we see, and we haven't developed the artistic sense to make the design edits that would transform that scene into a really beautiful and dynamic composition.

25:43 That is one of my memorable moments in my art career.

I hope that you guys have a wonderful rest of today and this week!