Monday, March 19, 2007

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Good morning!
It's Monday, and normally I would be setting up the theme for the week ahead, so that I could write individual posts about that topic all week, but I need some help from you guys first.

I think my readership is still pretty low, because I don't have very many profile views, and few comments.

If you are reading this blog regularly, and could let me know (either by commenting or sending me an e-mail through the "Contact Me" feature on the right sidebar), I will know better how to continue. I would love to know if you just enjoy reading it, or if you are actually trying some of the ideas as well.

I really love writing on the topic of art, and trying to get others to bring it in to their lives on a regular basis, but unless I know that others are trying some of the exercises or gaining benefit from reading my blog regularly, it is hard to justify the time it takes to prepare daily for this blog, and I may cut down on my quantity of posts-or (dread)- let it go altogether.

Can you guys let me know what you think so far? I'd really appreciate it.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Color- To Mix or Not to Mix

To mix or not to mix color?- that is the question!

What I am talking about here is the idea of putting color down and not mixing totally beforehand on your palette but instead, letting the viewer's eye mix the colors optically.

This isn't a new concept by any means, of course. The impressionists exploited this idea to the fullest, with Georges Seurat's pointillism being the best example, where he used little dots of pure color to make up his paintings. Remember Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte above?

I like to use a modified approach, inspired by the impressionist painters, in my own work. I try to resist the urge to mix every color perfectly on the palette first, but I do mix some of the colors. Others, I use in full strength, and place them in unexpected places.

Take a look, for example, at Portrait of a Cambodian Woman below. Do you see the pure reds and yellows used on her face? These are colors that I would normally use when mixing flesh tones, but I let them exist on the paper in their pure form.

As an artist, I encourage you to try this today. Work on paper, and use a toned paper if you can (even brown craft/packaging paper like in my painting) as your surface. Try to "see" the different colors in the subject. Part of it is imagination, and part of it is actually breaking down the colors you would normally use to mix the resulting color, and using those directly on your painting.

I hope you enjoy giving this a try today.

Stay tuned for my weekend post, with tips about setting up your palette.

I'd love to hear your comments, trials, tribulations and successes, so please comment if you can!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Make your Paintings POP!

To continue with our week-long look at color, I thought that we'd see today how to use color to make your paintings POP!

In yesterday's post, I talked about how you can use color to unify your work. Although there are ways to both unify and still "pop" with color, and I advocate doing both, today we will explore the pop factor.

I am not talking about pop-art, but instead about how to play certain colors off one another to make a visual impact with your work.

In the example above, a photo of my dog that I manipulated and digitally painted, I changed her reddish brown color to a yellow orange, and then used an aqua and blue combination for the background. I did this because yellow-orange and aqua (marked with red dots on the wheel below) are opposites on the color wheel- complementary colors- which tend to look really dynamic when used together in the same painting. You can see that I also marked the blue and yellow that are shown across from each other as well. I also used them in the same piece.

How about trying out a small painting utilizing color opposites on the wheel to give it a dynamic punch?! Choose any two colors directly acroos from each other on the wheel and use them as your main choices. Let me see what you come up with!