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Saturday, November 02, 2013

Fun with Color...The use of Unexpected Color in a Painting

'Change of Seasons'            8x10           pastel           ©Karen Margulis
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Did you ever have a color speak to you?  Seriously. Did you ever just pick up a color while painting just because you felt you needed to use it?  Those who have watched me paint know that I am usually very much in control of my palette.  I almost always spend time before painting choosing out the palette of colors I will use and lining them up on a butcher tray.  I usually stick with this palette and try not to add too many additional colors.  My goal is to use a limited palette so I have more control over color harmony.

But sometimes a painting needs more. Sometimes while scanning my box of pastels a color will jump out at me....'pick me' it says.  It is usually just a purely intuitive thing that happens. I don't try to analyze why I feel compelled to use the color. I just use it.  It doesn't always work but it sure is fun to try.

It happened for this painting. I was doing the painting as a demo for a private student. I was showing a value alcohol wash. The reference photo showed a blue sky and golden grasses. I decided to make the sky yellow to show that we don't always need to copy our reference photo.

But the painting was very yellow. There was no relief. I added some violets hoping the compliments would make the yellows more interesting. But still it was boring. I scanned my box looking for a solution. It was then my little turquoise pastel spoke up....."pick me".  So I did.  I put some turquoise in the distant trees to push them back.  It was an exaggeration but I like the color. But the turquoise wasn't done.

closeup detail
Before I know what was happening I was making a mark of turquoise down in the lower grasses. It needed some unexpected color to break up the boring yellows.  There is really no rhyme or reason for a spot of turquoise in that area of the painting. But it felt good to put it there.  It was fun to listen to the pastel speak.

The next time you feel an urge to use a certain color or to make an unexpected mark....just do it. Don't try to overanalyze it. If it doesn't work you can take it out. But have fun and trust your intuition!


1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

This works so well. I love the sparkle of turquoise down in the lower grasses, it's perfect.