Saturday, March 1, 2014

Use of Vivid Color

So many students and collectors say they love my use of color. I have been sorting through my brain about how I select subject matter with great color. One thing is my excitement level. I pick subject matter with scenes that excite me. The early morning light is intriguing to me. Brilliant color like oranges, pinks and mauves appear but this is the easy part. More subtle is the opposite cool colors like blue, purple, green. A note about green. Many artists miss out on the variety of greens. Think about it. There is red green, blue green, grey green, orange green, acid type green ( like the thalo( etc. I ask myself do these warm colors of the light offset with a nice cool mixture? Is there a clear center of interest? In the example above, I think the answer is yes. Thus, it has garnered a lot of interest by buyers. I also like a good entrance or lead in. During my trip to Russia, I visited the Tetrakov where I saw many excellent Russian artists. They had strong and unusual lead in-a obvious sign that takes you into the painting like a road or river. Since I live in the desert, a path or tree might to fine. The third thing you might note is that I arrange the shadow shape to take your eye down into the focal point ( the house in light). So many of my lines are directed to the FP (focal point). Don't make it hard for the viewer-give them road maps that say come here, go there, stop and look here. The use of bright color, strong contrasts will support a FP While soft greys, muted color and little contrasts with soft edges say ignore me. You want to have both going on in your paintings. Picking great color occurs by selecting complimentaries. That is red green, blue orange, and violet-yellow. These are so stuck in my unconscious that I don't think about them anymore but if I have a light in orange then my shadow color with have tints of blue in it. Similarly, yellow light should have its complement of violet, etc. Keeping these in mind will create the vibrancy or luminosity that is in much of my painting. Always start with a under painting like burst sienna or yellow ochre. Since oils are translucent, layers of paint underneath will appear through upper coats of paint allowing for various shades and colors never even thought of.

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