Saturday, November 5, 2016


Oil Painting Class with Titus Castanza
Oil painting classes are held every Thursday, 10-1pm; in Titus Castanza's studio. The classes explore oil techniques and art philosophy in a lax environment. Located on the top floor of Citizens building. Free parking. Class size is small and limited.

Accepting enrollment now and you can jump in at any time.

Class Description: Oil Painting Fundamentals
Where: Citizens Artist Warehouse, 44 W 6th St 85705 
             (NE corner of 6th St/9th Ave)
Current class: N/A
Next month's class: TBA

Time: Thursdays, 10am-1pm
Fee: $135

For students who are intermediate-advanced skill level.  You may join-in at any time.

To enroll, please email direct:

Photo of Titus Castanza taken in class as he explains the properties of lighting a head portrait.

Color and Value

When learning about color you need to be concerned with how value affects color. 
When mixing:

1.What color is the object ? (red, green, blue or orange, etc) 

2. How much value (gray) is in that color?

color + value = the color of the object

How does value affect color

Tone is used to lighten or darken a color and to make it less colorful, or, less intense. Keep in mind that each individual color is naturally lighter or darker as it comes out of the tube. For instance, cadmium red is darker than cadmium yellow. The value gray used will be determined by how light or dark the color. If you don't want to lighten or darken the color and only want to subdue (make less intense), then you can mix a gray that is the same value as the color. This will subdue the color without affecting its value. 

Tone refers to the gray within a color. 
Tone is gray (made-up of white and black).    

tint (white) + shade (black) = tone (gray)
(tone, or gray, is just another word for value)

(white + black = gray)

The basics to understanding color is that simple! Don't make it more complicated.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Portrait process

Class painting demonstration by Titus Castanza – explaining how to go about building a portrait.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Low key painting–5 value

You can flip through the images by clicking on the first image then using the scroll button on your mouse to witness the building of the image!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Today's Class Demo

Today's lesson was about how to create washes and transparent paint...and, knowing the difference between the two.

Washes are done at the very beginning by diluting the oil paint with turpentine; this is done to tone the white of the canvas or to establish a loose drawing. Typically, you can use "transparent paints" or "opaque paints" to do this. This stage is nearly identical and feels just like using watercolors–instead of water, we are using turpentine. It may help to know that turpentine degrades the paint, it breaks down the paint. This will leave the paint looking flat or "sunken" after it is dry because turps strip the paint of its luster and integrity. Turps will also cause cracking over time if the paint is applied any thicker than a wash. Linseed oil doesn't do this; linseed oil gives the paint elasticity and gloss (or semi-gloss). 

For applying transparent paint, transparent paints can be applied anytime during the painting process and is typically used with linseed oil or stand oil (thickened linseed oil). You may also use Liquin Original by Windsor & Newton. If any turpentine is used at this point, it would be in very modest amounts and only in addition to linseed oil (as if to slightly thin the oil). Too much turpentine in the mix and it will reactivate the previously applied layer of paint or wash. The previous layer must be dry, or "sticky", before a transparent layer can be applied.

Transparent paint can be applied thin, semi-thick or thick–unlike a wash. The key to applying transparent paint is to use only the transparent colors; such as, Viridian, Alizarin, Transparent Brown Oxide, Indian Yellow, etc. Know which paints are transparent and which ones that are not! Cadmium colors are not transparent, for example. Also to further complicate matters, know which paints are semi-transparent and semi-opaque. You should know every color in your box and whether it is opaque, transparent, semi-transparent or semi-opaque. Many manufacturers list this information on the paint tube. If not, then go to the manufacturers website and look it up.

Please post any questions you may have so that I may post the answers for everyone to see. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Here's a great drawing by Be!

The emotion! The energy! Viola! Magnifico!

Just look how awesome this drawing is! I would just be repeating myself if I said that I continue to be inspired by my students.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Building A Simple Painting–The Red Painting

Here's a digital reenactment of an oil painting of a still life using the color red as the main influence. The red will be used throughout the painting and certain amounts of it will be added to all of the colors, as I go. This illustration shows the process of working dark, midtone and light... then, adding the darkest darks and the lightest lights at the very end of the painting.  

To begin, I started-off toning the entire surface with Red. I then let it dry for 20 minutes. I then sketched-in the drawing using mixtures of Red and Black (Black=French Ultramarine Blue & Transparent Brown Oxide). Turpentine is used to create these washes.
Tip: Do not use white paint just yet. During your washes, use transparent color and the white of the canvas to achieve a lighter tone. Using white paint in your washes may result in an undesirable or chalky affect. Think of this washy stage as if you're using watercolors. 

At the beginning, I'm concerned with large shapes, medium shapes...then, small shapes. After my child-like shapes were sketched-in, I painted the bowl and zucchini, using nearly full-strength, "full-chroma" red. Later on darker colors will be painted over it. See, I know that red is intrinsically a dark color, and, it will be a good under-painting for a darker color. It functions well beneath the blue of the bowl and the dark-green of the zucchini. Tip: the red and grays in this stage were painted with slightly less washy paint. In fact, you may want to add a touch of linseed oil or Liquin Original.

I could have painted the gray shapes of the foreground (triangle) and background in this manner. However, by just going directly to gray I saved a step by I mixing red directly with gray (And, I knew there was already an under-painting of pink/red toned canvas.).

Next, I blocked in the DARKS. I showed restraint by not painting them quite as dark as I could have (for the most part)...oops, maybe a little too dark on that zucchini, oh well. Let's move on...

Now, I'm focused on painting-in the MIDTONES. As I did with the bowl, if the shape is blue, then I paint it blue. If the apple is red, then I paint the apple red. I'm looking for overall impact, color and value of the apple. The next three steps I continue to block-in midtones, or, the overall midtone color of the objects.

I veer  on the side of painting a slightly darker tone than I want to end up with. Later on, I will paint a lighter more accurate value over it. But for now, it helps to see things simply, in generalizations. Painitng light tones over dark tones is called, "light over dark". A handy principle when painting with oils.

Basically, I want to understand and see more simply the basic color and value (tones) that these shapes have to offer. Really, this is their major contribution and function to the painting (not their details). I am evaluating their size, location, color and value (tone)–in respect to the other shape relationships. It will help make more clear their contribution to the painting overall.
I may choose to play-up or play-down the values and colors (based on my own preferences) and based-on what I am trying to say about the relationships or about the painting as a whole...

After my mid-tones are in, I paint-in the lights. These are not the highlights (please don't confuse). They are the simply the light shapes that I see. They just represent the next level of going lighter in the process. Simply, paint the light shapes.

Even with these light shapes, I didn't forget to mix-in the red color that is present through-out all my color mixing. I also took in consideration the warmth of the light source and made sure it was included in my mix, as well.

Next, saving the lightest-lights and darkest-darks for last, I painted the lights on the cut apples (bright yellowish color) and the slight green and orange/pink highlights on the background apples. Then...

Finally, I added my darkest-darks and my lightest-lights to finish-off the painting (not necessarily in that order.