Colour schemes

The Shore
16 x 12
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 intuitive process - I did make a decision to use a lot of green in this piece.  Once I had that, and the colour of the foreground figure's bikini top, I wove the purple throughout the rest, letting it work as a foil and near-complement to its surroundings.  The warm reds, pinks and peach colours relieve the overall coolness, and I hit them hard in the figures' skin tones.

This was a useful colour experiment and worth remembering for future paintings.  It was a good way to take the messy complexity of a photo reference and impose structure and order on it.

Happy painting!


hi ingrid, where can i see your work in person? are you ever in the states?
Hi Jeri,
I'm represented by Roux and Cyr gallery in Portland, Maine and the rest of my galleries are in western Canada.

Someday I hope to look for more US representation.

Happy painting!
Here I am a short train ride away from the Barnes and have yet to go. This painting is absolutely luscious with this color scheme. You inspire me!
Thank you, Susan! You are a great colourist, so your comment means a lot to me!

You'll be thrilled with the Barnes when you go.