Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Intermediate Homework 10/22/14: What color are the darks?

Socks                                                           Mary Whyte
              The colors in the background of Mary Whyte's gorgeous portrait are clearly related to the palette she has established in the figure. As a result, figure and ground are part of the same world. I would not jump to the conclusion, though, that the darks must be a version of the dominant foreground color. There is plenty of blue in the figure, and the artist could have made the background mostly dark blue instead. The resulting image would have had a very different feeling, but the integration of the parts would still have been strong. If she had chosen to make the background neutral black, however, the figure would have been floating in a context that might as well be outer space.
Make  a study of a high contrast image in which you allow the darks to have a noticeable color. Base the color on the palette you have used elsewhere in the picture rather than the photograph. It's up to you. If you have time, try another version, using a different color as the link to the darks.

Photos often make the large dark areas devoid of information, which we accept as reasonable because it's a photo. But that is not what the real scene looked like. If we were there, we would have been able to see all kinds of variation within that area. In a painting, a big chunk of territory with nothing going on, dark or light, usually feels blank and uninteresting. Look again at Mary Whyte's background. It's all dark, and all soft-edged, but there's a lot happening.
Have fun.

1 comment:

  1. good points...one of my takeaways from your OSA workshop was "soft edges attach objects together while hard edges separate...I intuitively knew this once I thought about it, but the light bulb went on for me when you said that!