Friday, September 05, 2008

Sep 5 - Forgot the Swatch on the Cow

Yesterday I was so excited about the Flash Cards that I forgot to add the swatch of the cow for you to see that purple! But sometimes thing happen this way, so I can explain more fully why something works for me. And so it is. Here's a circle from the shoulder of the cow, against a neutral gray background. Can you identify the colors? The painting is here, too, smaller, to refresh your memory.

Training the eye to "get it right" when you mix colors takes time, and a neutral gray area around one's colors can truly assist in identifying the colors. That's why on my taboret, both my glass acrylic and oil palettes are sitting on top of gray painted wood. With each mixing of colors, I have made my job of identifying the colors that much easier. Look at the same circle below, surrounded by white. All you see is the circle, and we miss the beautiful variations of color within the circle. The color is dominated by the value contrast, plain and simple.

Working on a high value white palette will make you change your colors to be lighter than they need to be, because of that contrast issue. And your eyes will tire quickly as they adjust constantly between the color and that high-value white. The palettes of the old masters and many seasoned painters are a patina of every color--which equates to.... you guessed it!.... GRAY. I like a clean palette, so painting the wood underneath gray solved the dilemma for me.

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