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Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Favorite Way to Spice up a Boring Painting

'Under the Spell'               8x10               pastel                ©Karen Margulis
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 I am not a good cook.  I might be if I cooked more often but I'd rather paint.  So my cooking suffers. I do know a few basics about cooking though and it is always interesting to discover similarities between cooking and painting.

 Every Painting Needs a Little Spice 

I like to say that every painting needs a little spice. Sometimes a color note or a bold mark....something unexpected and enjoyable.  Like herbs and spices when cooking....

 Used properly they will enhance a dish.  Used in the wrong amount or in at the wrong time in the cooking process they can ruin a dish.  The same is true for those color notes.  The wrong colors or too much can hurt a painting rather than help it.

Using the Analogous Color Wheel to find my Spices
 A good cook wouldn't sprinkle an herb or spice on a dish without knowing how it works with the other ingredients.  Well maybe they would and maybe they would get lucky.  But they have a better chance of success with a delicious result if they know their ingredients.

Painters who choose random colors or just keep adding colors to a painting hoping to make it better risk  color chaos.  If you have a boring painting or one that just 'needs' something....you need to know your spices.  It is better to know what colors will work as spices rather than just guess.

I love using the Analogous Color Wheel to Choose my Spices

  • For spices I often turn to using the discords of my dominant colors in the painting.  The Analogous wheel makes it easy to find them, just dial in your dominant color!
  • The discords are colors that located equidistant on the color wheel from the dominant hue and from each other. 
  • They add  visual excitement (spice).  
  • They need to be used in small amounts and in the right place....usually in an area of interest.
  • Like herbs and spices they can be added in the beginning and cooked in the layers of pastel or they can be added at the end.
  • It is very easy to over spice a painting. Go slow and easy and step back as you add spices to make sure you aren't overdoing it.

How did I use the Color Wheel to choose my colors for this painting?  
I worked on Uart 800 and blocked in the painting with Nupastel rubbed in with pipe insulation.  I decided my dominant color was yellow orange with the complement blue.  The discords were red violet and blue green. I used red violet for the block in. It got cooked and only shows in a few places.  At the finish of the painting I added a few small touches of the red violet and blue green for my finishes touches.



This is really lovely. I use the same color chart; it is awesome.

Sheila said...

Lovely painting, and a terrific post! Have a happy painting weekend!

Pat Laurin said...

Wonderful post as always Karen - I have several color wheels but have not seen this one before - I'll have to look for it. Keep "cookin" with your pastels!