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Georgia O’Keeffe’s Palette and Wet into Dry Technique

This masterclass explores the Winsor & Newton colours O’Keeffe used in her palette, and the wet into dry technique she employed in her paintings. Her methods led to her use of fast drying oil mediums so she could layer paint up quickly to modulate the organic forms O'Keeffe is known for.

Video Transcript
0:06     Hi. I'm going to be sharing some of the Winsor & Newton colours found in Georgia O’Keeffe’s palette and a technique she used within her painting practice.

0:16     Rather than blending wet colours, she would layer wet into dry paint to create graduations in colour. Georgia O'Keeffe was an American artist known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York Skyscrapers and New Mexico landscapes.

0:30     She is recognized as the mother of American modernism. She would have used genuine Vermilion and Flake White, but here we have hues of these colours as the genuine pigments are toxic. O’Keeffe incorporated a range of materials in her work, in particular she added dryers to accelerate the drying of her paint so she could layer colours more rapidly. Today artists can use Liquin to achieve this result.

1:02     Here I'm mixing Liquin with Viridian and Flake white hue to create a series of tints. This will approximately halve the drying time of conventional oil colour. In wet into dry technique the paint is allowed to cure before moving on to the next value. O’Keeffe showed volume and depth by creating gradations of colour in this rather precise way. I'll let this dry now and then begin using my mixtures of viridian and flake white hue.

1:31     I'll move onto a board I prepared earlier that already shows several shifts in the colour. As I apply the tint here you can see there is only a subtle shift in colour between the wet and dry paint. Using a bit of the paint from my earlier mixture, I'll lighten this slightly by adding just a small amount of white - you can always add more later.

1:54     I'll apply the next mixture here. Again, subtle differences in value are the key to this technique. You can carry on as long as you like in this manner until you achieve the desired outcome. The effect, when done well, results in modulated curves and rounded forms.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the Winsor & Newton colours Georgia O'Keeffe used and the wet into dry technique she employed.