Thursday, September 23, 2021

Sure Thing, Have Faith


What color is this barn? I'll bet you can see plenty of yellow, and probably some red, too. How about blue? Look inside the open bays where some farm stuff is visible. Kinda blue, right? The side roofs look bluish too, compared to the warm siding. As painters, we can recognize an opportunity to have some fun with color while also challenging the viewer to see this grey/brown building as a collection of primaries.

What if you allow the primary colors to run together on the paper? Might you see some patches of secondary color; orange, green and purple? If you kept moving the brush around on the paper eventually the whole barn would turn neutral; brown and grey, but just for today let's leave those patches of primary and secondary color boldly asserting themselves. This is where the viewers come in. If they stand back a little the colors  merge optically and display the entire spectrum all at once. The first layer can look like a crazy carnival comprising too many colors, but as long as your brushstrokes are vertical this experiment will not fail! Have faith. When you add those deep, rich darks the whole thing will come together, Guaranteed.                   


Friday, September 17, 2021

September 17 Color and Value are Separate Features of a painting

Which is darker, the Gray sky or the yellow window? Keep in mind that surrounding a color with a much darker one is likely  to have an impact. 
The dark "Frames" are much darker than anything else in the picture. Do you think you can afford to lighten them a little so they don't behave like flat black holes? When I look at the sliding door on the left of the big opening I can see some boards holding it together. To me, they make that dark shape more interesting than flat black would. The door would still be a lot darker than than the yard or the sky.

Take a minute to see where the darks and lights appear in this photo, below.The fir trees are dark when they are framing light areas, and light where they are framing the darks. I could pretend these bold  value relationships were revealed on site, but the truth is I didn't notice them until I  was reviewing the pictures. If you choose to paint this scene remember the questions that will make the light clear and bright; How dark is the shape I'm about to paint? Compared to what? 
For example, the  trees on the hillside are darker than the grass, but lighter than the shadows.

The image below has much in common with the previous one. Layer number one is a carefree treatment of the light trees, rocks and shadows, onto which the more specific darks can be laid.

Choose one or two of these and practice getting the values correct so that you can let go of accuracy in the realm of color. Have fun!