Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Putting Down Color Roots

Radish Color Study: Trans (Theme A)
One of the most enjoyable aspects, I think, of being an artist is experimenting with color—especially on a snowy or gloomy day. This week I thought I’d work on a color exploration exercise in preparation for a larger oil painting. Here I've painted three 8x8 studies with completely different primary pigments. Note each study is only THREE pigments plus WHITE (Permalba). And the winner is...I think I'm leaning toward Theme A for the larger painting but I do like the bright violets in Theme B. Which one do you like best??

Theme A: All Transparent Pigments: Ivory Black, Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson
Theme B: Brighter Chroma (2 transparents): Ultramarine Blue, Permanent (Quin) Rose, Lemon Yellow
Theme C: Earthy/Classical (2 opaques): Prussian Blue, Indian Red, Yellow Ochre

This painting is based on a photo I took last fall at the Farmer's Market. I thought the red/green combination would be both challenging and interesting, plus I really like the shape and texture of the radishes.

Radish Color Test: Theme 2 (High Key)
As you can see, honestly I ran out of steam on the third one and just decided to do a smaller (6x6) abstract color test of those 3 pigments. I find Prussian cold and tricky (Thalo may have been a better choice) but it makes a lovely gray violet and gray green as you can see. But I'm not loving that dirty peachy mix.      

Radish Color Study: Theme 3 (Classical)
FYI, for those you interested in creating larger paintings from your photos I had my Staples store make a 18x24 black and white copy from my CD (they can print up to 100") and it was around 2 dollars. So a great tool and bargain! How do you transfer these large copies? I'm going to try that new graphite transfer spray on the back and then transfer to my 18x24 canvas. Quick shout out to all my followers today. I appreciate your interest and support! Hope you all have a wonderfully colorful week!


  1. I think I like the first group of pigments best, but the second one is really nice too. I usually use cad yellow, cad read light and ultramarine blue when I do a three color study. I'll have to try changing it up a bit to see what happens.

  2. Thanks Dawn--That trio is a good idea--I think the cad red light would really add something that I feel I'm missing. Happy Painting!