Saturday, November 5, 2011

Playing with color


Caressing
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.

Emotion.

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?


21 comments:

  1. Very nice painting, Susan. But if I told you what my passion in painting was, it wouldn't be a secret!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This painting has such lovely light to it--it vibrates. I noticed that before reading your post. To me background color can make or break a painting. This one works wonderfully!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I enjoy coming here and learning about your process. The book I just finished was about an artist who hadn't painted in years. The author did an amazing job showing her trepidation in picking up a brush and starting again. I am learning more and more to value the depth of the work I see.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your mental approach to color is wonderful and completely permissive without being restrictive at all. To the (maybe) fearful thought that by using so much color and mixing and shifting it, you might make mud, ... your response is that upon mud any pure color will stand out beautifully. I like your style!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beautifully painted, Susan. Lots of lovely soft colors. Amazing job on this piece.!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love the playfulness of this piece, Susan. My favorite of all of them thus far, indeed. I don't know for sure what my secret passion is when I work on a piece. I think that I'm novice enough to just be thrilled to bits when I manage to do something on a piece unconsciously that I've seen in other works of art that I love. Something as simple as managing to get distant trees as soft as I would like them to be. To me, color is just so inherent...something that I do instinctually without really thinking much about.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I get so much from reading your posts. Thanks for addressing the idea that the background feeling can be much freer in contrast to the more detailed precision of the subject. And thanks for the bit about 'mud', I am very familiar with mud these days! Your work is wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just spent the past 30 minutes looking at your paintings and reading . . . such good, thoughtful insights! Love your color sense, beautiful work!

    ReplyDelete
  9. my mum loves whites, and me ... too...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Really loving your beach girls, Susan. So delicate and shimmering and yet colorful.

    ReplyDelete
  11. ooo, beautifully done!! love the post as well. very thoughtful. i'm still finding my secret passion. lovely job!

    ReplyDelete
  12. so interesting to read your blog...the painting is so warm and captivating!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Beautiful and very charming.

    I tend to approach from the opposite when I paint. My love of strong color often leaves me looking for places to insert my neutrals. As you know, the brightest color cannot shine when surrounded by more bright color....it must have those grays to really pop!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tout comme toi, je vis les couleurs, je respire les couleurs... Elles sont tellement nécessaires parfois dans le monde morose dans lequel nous vivons...
    Nous sommes des funambules de la couleur et nous jouons avec elle...
    Parfois toutes ces couleurs nous surprennent...et nous font vibrer, tout comme ta dernière peinture qui grâce à la lumière et tes couleurs traduit des émotions.
    gros bisous ma chérie!

    ReplyDelete
  15. this painting is wonderful, Susan : )

    ReplyDelete
  16. Beautiful painting, an I like the way you tell us about colour!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Just sometin to pass the time (with a lesson or two). God blessa youse -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is gorgeous,compositon, the colors, the brush-work. Just beautiful!

    ReplyDelete

Please share your thoughts. Your comments are always appreciated.