Friday, June 15, 2012

Color, Value, Painting

For starters, here are some magical splatters of color for inspiration! Did you know that they dance on your palette just like this, when you're about to paint?

Van Gogh, Almond Branches in Bloom, 29 x 36 inches, 1890

Color is super important in my work and I always strive towards rich colors just like one of my favorite, and well known painters, Vincent Van Gogh . What does a rich color mean? I guess it means "clean" or "confident" colors (what?). I always wash my brush really well before mixing and finally applying each new stroke of color, it makes for a more conscious decision. It takes a lot of effort and I end up with a billion dirty rags at the end of each painting session, but guess what? My painting ends up looking more fresh and vibrant (I hope). I noticed that when I get lazy and don't wash my brush, and don't really think or feel much about which colors I mix together, if I just throw and smear paint...the painting ends up looking dirty and dry. I also make sure that I clean my palette several times during a painting session. Sometimes your painting is not going well because you've diluted all of your resources on your palette and need to refresh!

I saw this painting in the Van Gogh show in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) in spring of 2012 (one of the best shows I ever went to btw). Everything about it, from framing, to the order of the work, and there were so many Japanese prints included in the show. It was easy to make a connection and see how the Japanese prints inspired 19th century artists like Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas.

Van Gogh, Siesta, 1890

** Throughout history artists had a special relationship with color, here's a little video:

               By New Zealand artist Richard Robinson:
More helpful painting tips from Richard Robinson:

The video above gives tips on how to better see color and value. Color is quite arbitrary, but more or less I like to believe that we see color similarly. I noticed that when I look at the same subject over a period of 3 hours when I paint, I constantly change my mind about which colors I see. Feelings play a huge role in this, and what you are looking at when comparing one object to the next. Everything is relative. :)
Another thing: If you look at an orange (fruit) and you decide that its' color is orange (of course). Then you put a carrot next to it. Oh no! Two orange objects? Do you separate them by putting an outline around each? It's a possibility! But you can also ask, "which is darker (even if it's just a slight transition), which one is more reddish? or greenish? or purplish? or yellowish? And differentiate their orangeness that way.


You can do this by taking any simple colored image/photo you like and make a black and white copy. You can then practice painting both!

More Peggi Kroll - great demo:

**Look at her list of recomended books on color and composition on her web, they are pretty helpful (got some in my own library). Hawthorne on Painting, The Art of Spirit by Robert Henri, Edgar Payne's, The Composition of Outdoor painting, etc.

Video by Kroll, with her studio and most importantly, her Art work:

Head proportions, basics, oh so simple - AWESOME:

So...from color and value I went right into head proportions and planes! What the heck? Why I'll have to make a separate post for that!

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