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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why Painting is like Planning a Good Party....part 2

'A Bright Spot in my Day'                16x20             pastel            ©Karen Margulis
purchase this painting here $195

 A memorable party has a lot to do with the chemistry of the invited guests. A good mix or balance of personalities can make or break the party. Too many high energy people ....and the neighbors may complain. Too many quiet people can be a bore.

Paintings are like that. Think about color. Too much bright, intense, loud, pure color can lead to a painting that doesn't hold the viewer's attention for long. I love the  quote  is "All color is No color". If everything is screaming for attention, where do we look?  On the other hand too much dull, neutral or grayed down color can be beautiful but could also be uninteresting without a little spice.

In my post yesterday I introduced Mr. Red and Ms. Gray.....they represent pure color and grayed color or neutrals.  A painting benefits from having both quiet areas and spicy areas. Just as a party benefits from high energy 'Life of the Party' (Mr. Reds) people and quiet but interesting people.(Ms. Gray)

Underpainting with pastel and water
I try to have a balance of both in my paintings.  Not an equal amount but a balance. If I have a painting with a majority of intense pure color I want to be sure to have a smaller amount of dull or neutral colors to balance and set off the intensity of the pure colors. If  I have a quiet painting with a lot of grayed down colors I try to incorporate a smaller amount of brighter intense color for spice.

detail showing intense color next to quiet color
Today's painting has a lot of bright color....fuschias, purples, bright greens. I tried to balance this with the addition of some grayed colors such as the dull purples and muted greens. Yesterday's painting of the red rocks was overly dull and boring. See it here. I had too much grayed or neutral colors and no spice. In my redo I changed the shapes of the mountains and added some more intense color to the sunlit mountains and sand.

Painting notes: I did a water wash on 16x20 Pastelmat using bright colored Nupastels.

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

I love a painting with strong saturated colors more than neutrals. This concept eluded me for many years and I needed an advanced color class to finally understand what I wasn't getting.

One really important thing I got in that class is that both deep darks and light lights are very muted, the tints and shades are more muted than mass tones. Light yellows can still be intense but anything past its value range will either be olive greens or using yellow cast browns as substitutes.

I've always extended the yellow range with browns if I wanted it to read as yellow, but that was my own outlook. I like the yellow shades as olives though and sometimes if shadows are cool that's what they need to be.

This article is great. I saw the mountain shapes and composition problem in the plein air too but you're right - the whole painting was dull and the brighter accents in the studio version made a big difference!