Saturday, November 5, 2011
Playing with color
Original oil painting 20x16"
by Susan Roux
Last post I mentioned color is emotion.
It isn't just a loose statement I've put out there in cyberspace. I experiment a lot with color and know it to be true. I can play for hours entertaining myself with color.
I'm not in a rush when I paint. Every canvas has turned into a learning playground. Don't misunderstand me. There are certainly times of major frustration. Major, MAJOR! But I like to take my time to watch what happens when I change things. Change things such as colors.
It's the greatest change that takes place as I alter the colors on a painting.
These pretend backgrounds I place my beach girls in have offered an opportunity to cut loose and scribble color. Layers and layers of color get placed there every time I'm tense from focusing too severely on my girl. It's created a yin-yang for me. High intensity on capturing my figure versus complete release on the remainder of the canvas. I like painting large. Many of my girls sit on 28x22" canvases. That leaves a lot of empty space to scribble color! Believe me, I need the release...
Color doesn't scare me. I enjoy manipulating it, changing it and frankly I just embrace it. I think it's my favorite part of painting. If I had to move to black and white, I'd probably give up painting. It's at my very core. No wonder I spend so many working hours being entertained by it.
If you're a little nervous about color, one easy principle comes to mind. Combine the primary colors (any red, blue or yellow) and the result is a grayed, neutralized pigment. Upon that neutral, any clean color will stand out. This basic knowledge frees me to play as much as I desire. If all fails, the result is a neutral tone. Any color can be added on top and stand out.
In other words, play with too many colors on canvas and they dull. Some of you call it mud. This grayed base provides a perfect surface to place pure pigment. This concept keeps me fearless with regard to color. There always exists the opportunity to work pure pigment into a neutral area.
I played with the background pigments of Caressing a lot. The mood and emotion of this painting changed as I altered the colors. In the end I emphasized those pigments that presented the emotion I preferred. The magenta's set off her sunlit back. The golden hues added warmth and sunlight to the water and the greens added a stable base anchoring the composition. The background became a mixture of secondary colors (green, purple and orange).
Something has really grabbed me while painting these figures. I began in January of this year and continue to be amazed and challenged. All the while having a fun release in playing with colors on this simplified stage, a single figure in a vague atmospheric presence. As I focus on sun and shadow patterns falling on the figure, I also have been enjoying playing with (and learning) color.
What's your secret passion in your whole creative painting journey?