Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘#Value of Color’

Below are photos, sketches and paintings that I prepared for our class called Creative Color and Luminescence taught by Michael Orwick offered through the Oregon Society of Artists.

This is an unfinished painting. I have ideas how to soften the red water on the right side and want to do some glazing to smooth out certain parts. For now, I am not touching the painting because it needs to dry a bit before proceeding.

This painting is of a Portland bridge that I started sketching back in January when I prepared ink sketches of it for variations in Michael Orwick’s earlier course on design and composition. I have now carried these earlier sketches into the current class on Creative Color and have begun painting it using oil paints on a birchwood panel.

Portland Bridge, unfinished oil painting on birchwood panel

This week we turned our attention to color value and as an assignment, we broke down colors on our palette into gradations between very light and very dark values of the same color. We also began painting color perspectives of our planned composition. Michael Orwick spent three hours with us on zoom, detailing ideas and illustrating color value. It was a very good explanation and I learned a lot.

He asked us to summarize our aha moment and here’s mine.

In landscape paintings, clouds are a big part of the sky’s atmospheric infrastructure, bending light and casting shadows altering colors and their hues. Similarly, on the ground, trees, buildings, hills and mountains are important parts of land’s infrastructure again bending light, casting shadows, altering colors and their hues. Paying attention to the horizon helps to illuminate how these big natural infrastructures interact when light is infused into the picture.

We use our paints to sculpt and make textures while also measuring brightness and shadows. The system of mixing colors for specific purposes may create moods, alter reflections, enhance shades and encourage brightness and may intentionally create feelings of harmony or disharmony, as needed. We spent time considering how color does this, by shifting values, varying brushwork or color marks and color mixing. Here is my takeaway from this week.

Color is all about perspective.

Colors may have value which can be deepened or softened according to whether they are:

in the sky;

their proximity to the horizon;

how light is being infused (i.e. angle of the sun); and

according to the shapes and angles of objects around them.

Understanding this about color, we ask as we plan a painting:

  • Where is my horizon;
  • Where is my light source;
  • What is my color harmony (could be seasonal, time of day, mood, feeling.; and finally,
  • What is my mother color? Reference to mother color summarizes the predominant color of a perspective.

If I understand correctly, the mother color is not a “true” color based on the facts of an observation. It is instead, the color we might choose to mix in all the other colors of the palette while painting, to encourage harmony. In the case of my painting up above, I consider purple to be the mother color. I mixed up all the colors in this painting to see what color I would get, and here it is. This would indicate that I will get soft shadows from the palette I have chosen. It is late afternoon in this painting, and the soft purple light over the Willamette River pervades.

Learning to use color in a painting is like learning how to drive a car. One’s beginning understanding may be that we must know how to turn on the car, stop, go, and turn the steering wheel. With time, we learn the necessity of checking our mirrors and estimating angles of the car to comprehend where we are and how moving our car will impact on others and their locations.

Color, like design and composition, complicate art in the most wonderful ways. It is much the same way mirrors complicate driving…but also improve the experience.

I expect to add glazing to this painting for harmonizing colors and will prepare some speculative drawings for figuring out options on the glazes.

Sketch paintings and glazing options appear below. I have prepared them on on cardboard since I do not plan to keep them, except for this planning stage.

Color options for painting
Color options for painting

Below, is the graph that I prepared for the class showing four possible variations in color value for each color in the palette.

Illustrative example of color value changes prepared for the course as an assignment.

It is turning out to be very useful that the same painting ideas I chose for the first course are being carried through the next course, so that I continue to work on the painting across the big art concepts that we are being taught. We did not have to do this, but I chose to, as a learning experience and I would recommend doing it again.

Read Full Post »