Thursday, February 28, 2013

Had a question . . .

I had a question from a reader on Facebook about how I see color. It made me think about my habits. One thing I told her was that I often try to identify color in the landscape when I'm driving. When I'm really into it, I'll try to determine what color mixes might produce that color when painting. It's kind of fun and can make an otherwise boring drive turn into a painting lesson. This works well when you're sitting around also. Just about anytime and anywhere. Very handy.

The little painting that prompted the question.

When I'm painting intentionally - as opposed to mindless therapeutic painting - I often stop to determine and vocalize the color I think I'm seeing. Especially if it's a subject I'm not used to and would have a tendency to jump to color conclusions. For instance if it's an apple, it must be red, right? Not really. It could be lots of colors and I have to thoughtfully observe.

Another aspect of the process is taking into account the surrounding color. If I want a certain spot to pop I may have to subdue some of the surrounding color in the painting. I may have to make it lean more toward the complement of my "pop area", or gray it some so the intensity of the pop comes through.

Using a "color isolator" can be helpful too. I originally heard of this helper when studying Kevin Macpherson's book Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light and Color. There's lots of helpful color info in there. It can be very surprising to hold your little gray card up and look through the holes and find out the color you're looking at is very different from what you were thinking.

Comparing the actual hill color to the paint color.
 So, just a few thoughts on seeing color. I'm sure you have some practices of your own that work well.  I'd be interested in hearing about your color observation practices if you care to share them.

Happy painting!

1 comment:

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