Showing posts from November, 2014

Colourful Shadows

This subject sparked my imagination though the girl in my photo reference was no more than a graceful silhouette as she headed for the water.  The key was to make the most of her shadowy shape and not get too caught up in the brilliantly-illuminated air mattress.

I started by deciding on a temperature for the light.  It would be cool, so that I could push the warmth of her body to extremes.  I washed in a tone across the figure using oranges and ochres before beginning to model her form with purples and greens.  That way, the foundational warmth would influence all subsequent colours and temperatures.  Over those initial statements, I layered broken colour in both warm and cool.  She couldn't be just warm, or she felt too much like an illustration: lacking depth and complexity.  So she has hot oranges and cooler alizarin-based colours as well as greens and lavenders in her body.

I had to keep her highlights simple and not too dominant or they stole attention from the shadows; ou…


Purple Life Vest 30 x 30
There's no way to avoid being influenced by other artists, and, honestly, I don't understand why people would even want to avoid it.  There are only so many novel ideas to be dredged out of the head of a person who spends all of her working days by herself in a studio.  A little creative boost from other artists is something that I welcome.  
This painting was the direct result of receiving the exhibition catalogue of David Prentice's last, and final show at the John Davies Gallery in the UK.  Prentice died this year leaving behind a legacy of gorgeous landscape paintings that are richly coloured and beautifully designed. And they have an unabashed quantity of pink in them.  
Pink has always seemed like a dangerously frivolous colour and I'd never considered using it before, but Prentice's work changed that.  It turns out that pink is an uplifting, and lively colour and it's awfully fun to use.  Pink says warmth.
So I used it liberally…

Colour schemes

It's easy to get caught up in the wonders of the colour selection at the art supply store, but I find that my favourite paintings are the ones with the least number of colours in them.  I also know that I have a real preference for looking at paintings that have an overall green or blue bias with smaller hits of warm colour.  I didn't actually put this into words for myself until I visited the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia last year and found myself gravitating invariably to the paintings with cool colour schemes such as Van Gogh's "The Postman" .  Unlike earthy, natural schemes, these artificial, stylized colour harmonies have amazing visual vibrations.  "The Postman" was hung in a little out -of-the-way corner of a room filled with Renoirs and Cezannes, but it still managed to dominate the space.

So, while I don't often set out to impose a colour scheme on my work - I find that to be an artificial process that feels too rational for such an …