Sunday, November 16, 2008
"Study in Complementary Colors" oil on canvas, 8 x 7
As mentioned in a previous post, I have been in Iowa teaching a series of paintings workshops. This is another example of one of the exercises we completed before working with the larger class project. We had been working in black and white with a small still life, with a focus on matching values of objects with tones of pigment. The next step in this process was to use two complementary colors, in this case yellow and violet, to create a small study. In addition to pure color we mixed semi neutral tones and some lighter and darker values with the addition of white and black. It was amazing to see the variation of colors that could be mixed. The concept of this exercise was to try to gain an understanding that value and the combination of values help to create form. In addition, I wanted to help the students experiment with the concept that color in its pure form has a value (light and dark.) They quickly realized that maintaining good contrast was the key to making a successful study using two colors. I encouraged the students to note that the semi neutral mixes had a warm and a cool side which when placed in the painting helped to establish a feeling of depth as the warmer tones advanced in the painting and cooler tones helped areas to recede in the piece. The process was a challenge but it helped to reinforce the idea that color can be anything as long as its reasonable and that a painting can be successful and interesting using a very limited palette.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.