Saturday, February 6, 2010

Slow progress and mixing grays

Progress has been very slow and difficult with my new painting, so I thought I would share some of my difficulties, and what I'm doing to get through them.

First COLOR!!! Usually the fun, joyful, thrilling part for me. I'm having the most difficult time seeing the color ... well I'm seeing it, but having a hard time translating it. My bows are white, but almost all in shadow, giving me a majority of grays, right? Well not as I see it. I see purples, and dark blues, and deep oranges, and yellows even. But when I try to paint purple-gray, and yellow-gray, the colors are NOT beautiful. I keep painting and scraping off whole sections. This has not been fun.

So I decided to adjusted my thinking. I love working with rich, saturated colors, so what I needed to work with wasn't gray, but super rich luscious saturated neutrals. Now that sounds fun to me!

I know this has to be clearly all in my head, that how I feel about a color effects the way I see and paint it - gray (sad) versus rich neutral (yummy), but it is working, and that's all I care about, so here we go:

Earlier I posted how I mix color based on opposites, and this is just another example, so I won't go into as much detail. The earlier post I used yellows and purples, this time I'm using oranges and blues. Opposites mixed together give us lots of beautiful rich neutrals, plus mixing this way gives me a lot of control. This makes it so simple to warm up a color or cool it down, plus it's very easy to remix a color. Here is a sampling of some of the colors I will be using:

Cad Orange + Radiant Blue in the left pile, which gives me a warm silver, the right side is the same mixture + Nickel Yellow, which just glows in person.

The top dark pile is Ultramarine Deep + Cad Orange. From that dark I can get a variety of grays just by mixing more orange (left pile) or blue (right pile) + white.

Below that dark group is King's Blue + Cad Orange, these are super rich in person, and the palest group of purply pinky pearly neutrals is Radiant Blue + Shell Pink (= purple) adding Ivory White (yellowish white - purples opposite.)

Now I can put these saturated colors to use. I'm focusing on the bottom bow first because it has some of the strongest contrasts, which I can use to judge all the other values.

More soon!


A Gift Wrapped Life said...

Can't wait to see the finished painting. I know you are not supposed to say this to artists while they create.....but please hurry!

Karen Appleton said...

Sande you are hilarious! I'm trying :)

Tammy Hext said...

Great start Karen and I loved seeing how you mix all your neutrals - very similar to how I mix mine. Happy painting,

Karen Appleton said...

Thanks Tammy, I've loved seeing your latest figure paintings with all your thick paint!

Jennifer said...

I love it just as it is... I can feel it already.

Things That Inspire said...

It is great to see the progress! Do you ever save the presents and use them as 'solo' paintings? The bow on the top present is simply...perfection!

Karen Appleton said...

Thank you so much Jennifer, I wish I could feel it already, I'm still in the danger-abandon to safer territory- phase :) Thank you for a boost in confidence!

Thanks for asking Things That Inspire. I usually do have several presents still wrapped up hanging out in the studio waiting to be painted again. Sometimes I just can't bare to unwrap them. But only once have I used the same one twice. The same present appears in Crush and Five - now that was a perfect present. This top present is fluffy perfection too, so I would not be surprised if it turns up again. Especially since I'm thinking about a Cloud 9 series.

Liza Hirst said...

Hi Karen
Thank you for letting us peep into your method of mixing - very interesting and inspiring!
I am also occupied with greys at the moment and feel very connected to what you're experiencing - same here!
This is going to be another wonderful painting of your's!

Karen Appleton said...

Thank you Liza, your grays are so beautiful and crisp, the perfect combo of warm and cool. I'm still struggling with finding that balance. Thanks so much for commenting!