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!

1 comment:

Anetka said...

it's my first time on your blog and I love it.
i am going to try the technique you mentioned today:)
great ideas and inspiration.
thanks for being here