Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Design, Part 3
Work in progress
(still not done...) 18x24"
by Susan Roux
Color and value. Those magical tools that keep artists addicted. Make a color change or a value change and you can redirect the viewers eye instantly. How do you keep it all in control?
First of all, don't loose sight of your initial plan. Second, when it comes to color with respect to design, repeat it. Color has the ability to hop the eye from one place to another. To keep your viewer exploring the entire canvas, repeat colors and their eye will bounce around in rhythms.
If you don't get too caught up with local color and build your darks throughout your painting using the same colors, you'll establish a color harmony. Some people like to limit their palette to ensure harmony, but others like myself paint with a palette-full. Either way can work.
With harmony in mind, I worked the rosebush. I used shadow values. This allowed me to take my time establishing where I want sunlight to move across it.
Notice how color was added randomly at this stage. This keeps the eye interested and moving. Even in this close-up, where there isn't information to identify the subject, the eye dances around in varied movements. Had I chose to paint each blossom identically, the eye would quickly tire and the exploration would cease.
Next I began adding sunlight to the blossoms. I took my time, stepping back frequently, making sure to retain variety. So far so good.
It became trickier as I added sunlight to the greenery. The deep rich darks that added contrast to the blossoms were being lost. To bring the painting to completion, close attention to value is necessary. Adjustments need to be made. This is when being able to critique yourself becomes critical. You need to ask yourself, what's wrong and how do I fix it?
The answer isn't always easy to find. The eye will travel to the place of most contrast and the sharpest edge. Unfortunately, as I lost the high contrast around my blossoms, the spot of highest contrast and sharpness became my top window pane. Oh man, what a pain!
So here is my dilemma. I've purposefully kept my blossoms in loose edges to project their softness. Each time I would crisp one too much, I didn't like the stiff feeling it created. Now to keep with my initial idea of the roses being my focal point, I must figure out a way to retain the attention there. I do like the idea of the blossom reaching out to the window. It helps in the exploration of the canvas. As my eye goes to this window, it picks up on the tree shadow and swoops back down to catch the blossoms on the ground.
I thought I was posting a completed painting today, but as I review the many photos I took, its clear to me that my painting lost drama along the way. I've never photographed a series of my work in progress before. It's proving to be a very interesting tool. Also I'm finding that talking about my process is a good learning tool as well. I hope you'll follow along as I push myself for improvement...