Friday, September 27, 2013

Challenge Day 27: The Personal Nature of Color

"Coastal Tide" watercolor on YUPO (collection artist)
“Color may come purely from imagination and, so long as the value and relationship is good, may be even more beautiful than life. I do not consider that faking.  That is understanding color.”
Andrew Loomis

Since I’ve taken a bit of side trip into watercolor land during the 30 day challenge I’ve been re-reading some of my watercolor books. I have some wonderful books but over the years they've taken a bit of a "back shelf” to my oil painting books. (Which reminds me, if anyone has read the new Alla Prima II yet I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!)

Last night I was reading Watercolor Free & Easy by Washington based painter Eric Wiegardt. Since I love color I tend to skip to the color chapters read those first—like eating the cream in the Oreo!  In this book, I particularly liked the section about having a “Personal Color Sense” or “Color Instinct” if you will.
Along the way, you’ve likely heard from other artists that if you get the value relationships correct then you can paint that “super dark” any “super dark” hue of your choosing. But how do you decide exactly what that color will be? 
That’s a great question. Some of that answer for me is “intuition” and painting—a lot. But in addition, Wiegardt offers some helpful questions to help you select a color that works best for your painting and not necessarily the one you see in front of you:
  • What color best expresses the painting’s mood and/or emotion?
  • What temperature dominance makes sense (note the colors follow this choice)/
  • Could I use complements to add excitement and interest?
  • Are all my colors the right intensity? Should some be brighter or grayer?
  • Is there an overall “mother” color or tone that would work well? (Think of a night café scene.)
  • Is there some “bounced” color I could take advantage of?

So the rest of the week I plan to keep this idea of color choice in mind as I hope to finish out the challenge month with at least a few more posts.
P.S. Thanks Rick B. for lending me his lovely Oregon coast sketch/photo (as well as some salt!) for my YUPO landscape painting today!


  1. Love your colors and movement in the painting.

  2. Thanks for the nice comment Judy--the YUPO surface really helps! Cheers and have a colorful week! Aimee