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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Breaking Free of Color Ruts

'Listen to Your Heart'             9x12        pastel       ©Karen Margulis
available $195
 Do you find yourself returning to your favorite color combinations over and over again?  I tend to  have favorite colors that seem to find their way into my paintings when I am not paying attention. Do you have favorites? You can tell by just looking in your pastel box. Those tiny nibblets of pastel are most likely your personal favorites. There really isn't anything wrong with having preferred color schemes. In fact it can often be part of your unique personal style. But sometimes it is fun to mix it up! Get out of your color rut by deliberately choosing a different color scheme.

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed earlier today when a painting caught my eye. I loved the limited palette the artist used and the soft muted colors in their palette.  I pulled out a piece of paper and quickly jotted down some color notes of the main colors in the painting. ( Unfortunately I was distracted by something else and when I returned to Facebook I couldn't find the painting to credit the artist. I am still looking!) But I did have the color notes so I decided to use them for a new marsh painting.

Inspired Color Notes

Choosing a simple limited palette based on my color notes

  • Using the color notes as my guide I selected pastels I would use for my painting. I made sure to have a range of values within the color scheme. The results are in the butcher tray above. I started the painting using a few Nupastels in similar but bolder colors in my  tray.
  • I often like to start a painting darker and bolder than I ultimately want. It is much easier to lighten and tone down a painting than it is to punch it up!
  • I continued building the painting using only the few pastels in my tray. The result was a quiet and simple color scheme that was inspired by making a strip of color notes and sticking to them!

The first layer or block in of my extremes...
darkest dark,lightest light and most intense color.
Scroll through Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest looking at art that inspires you. In particular look at the artists use of color. Pick a painting whose color scheme interests you and make some notes with pastel of the colors you see. Now choose pastels in this color scheme for your next painting. This exercise can be repeated many times using the same reference but different color inspirations!

Note: today's painting is 9x12 on Wallis Warm mist seconds.


Donna Thibodeau said...

I find this extremely interesting. I've looked at others art for inspiration of subject metter, composition ideas, and value ideas. I've never thought of making color notes. I have used a triad or just two colors. I will now look at art differently noting the colors from the palette.

Anonymous said...

Lovely painting, Karen! I was wondering, how do you decide which color to sign your painting with?

Karen said...

I usually try to choose a color that I used in the painting. Usually it is contrasting somewhat to the area but not so overpowering.

Linda Kriegel said...

Beautiful. Never though of that. I'm usually drawn to the "spice" colors in others' works!