Monday, February 27, 2012

Pop of Color

"Positively Poppies" 8x8 Oil on Linen-SOLD
When I start getting impatient for spring I just have to paint flowers. I’ve also been thinking a lot lately (thanks to my students and recent workshops I’ve taken myself) about my visual approach to a painting. In this case, I wanted to explore with the translucent nature of the poppies and as well as a high, bright key. See my tips below on painting with bright, clean colors.

I’m continuing to play (sometimes it’s work!) with very intensely bright transparent oils (magenta, violet, crimson, Indian yellow, perm rose, sap green, etc.) for initial mass/shape block in. I think approach is a match made in painting heaven for high key florals like this.

New Favorite “All in One’ Tool: The Artist MVP
As I mentioned many times, I love my “red plastic sheet” in the studio to check my values. I also use grids and sometimes a small compact mirror for composition checks. Thankfully well known California oil painter Peggy Kroll Roberts (her work is gorgeous) offers a smart and handy combo of all three on her website. It comes on a cord that you can easily wear plein air as well. Just ordered one as a gift and now can’t wait to get another. Thanks Peggy for this great idea!     

More Bright Ideas
When painting a bright, high chroma painting like these poppies it can be tempting to get wrapped up in all that color. I know I do. But be careful not to jeopardize your initial value plan. Let’s see you set up a simple sunlit still life. Take a minute and note where the brightest color notes are (remember bright is not the same as lightest.) Usually you’ll find the most intense in between the light and the shadow.

Or maybe not. Painting is, after all, an observational science. In general though, the better we represent the correct values the more saturated color your painting can support. Have a wonderful rest of your day!

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