Thursday, June 24, 2010

color choices or are you painting the colors that you see?

8x10 pastel and watercolor on marble dust board
"Those aren't the real colors you are painting, are they?"These are words from a helpful passerby as I was industriously working on my painting. I thought and considered. "Yes, they are, but as I paint I make decisions in order to create better color harmony."  "Oh I thought they weren't ."
Isn't that what we do all the time..even if we paint what we see? I wanted a feeling of hot sun so I was constantly balancing how many cool choices I made and whether I could lean that cool color warmer. For instance many of the violets and purples in reality leaned more towards blue..but did I want that? I did leave warm and cool greens for color tension.
As Richard McKinley has always said...it's all a lie. You take a 2d surface with a handful of color and make the bounty before you. (paraphrased by me) Now consider the power in you.
You can choose how you want to make that vision, that beautiful lie.

24 comments:

Double "D" said...

As my father used to say "truer words were never spoke!"

Your use of color is always the first thing I see with each of your paintings. I know I try and do it to some degree but not with the same results. Summer time always seems to be the biggest challenge ... when everything is so freakin green!

B, you do this so well. This is a great piece, some how the same but different for you as far as subject matter.
I like it!
PB

Janelle Goodwin said...

How true! Sometimes I see beautifully rendered paintings where everything is so realistic. (How boring) Your paintings sing with color and produce a feeling in the viewer!

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Self-edited comment about the value of random comments from passersby.

What you paint is so much deeper than what you see! The book, "Like Breath on Glass" (which I loved, by the way! thank you for mentioning it on your blog!!)quotes Whistler

"The imitator is a poor kind of creature. If the man who paints only the tree, or flower, or other surface he sees before him, were an artist, the kind of artists would be the PHOTOGRAPHER. It is for the artist to do something beyond this."

That's what you do. Way beyond the surface of what you see! And you look to do more with it, too. Keep up the beautiful work!

loriann said...

Hey PB!!!!!
So true so true! Summertime is challenging the greens are overwhelming but the temperature is comfortable. In winter the silvery violets are gorgeous bu the temperature is crazy. Here's a tidbit from Richard, pastel god: green- orange is the secret and violet is its friend.
Yes, you are right this is very different ...it is tamed nature. I usually prefer it wild!
Go enjoy some green my friend. I can't wait to see some more double ds.

Hi Janelle!
Thank you....painting is so wonderfully complex, isn't it? How is the move going?

loriann said...

Thanks so much Katherine...love the quote reminder too. I am once again rereading that book. Wish I saw the show.
That last post you made was awesome..love that painting.
People if you haven't seen it click on Katherine's icon.

Donna T said...

I am soaking up all of these thoughts about painting "the beautiful lie." Maybe the woman who made the comment would rather own a painting that looks like a photograph. Isn't that what a lot of people consider to be good art? How sad to miss out on a connection with an artist; to see the world through the artist's eyes. I like the way you described this scene with COLOR!

loriann said...

Donna. good art....hmmmmm. I think of good art as something that makes you feel. Great art makes you drool. Often people don't look for good art, rather something that reminds them of something/somewhere. I guess it is related to the human condition.
I am glad you are enjoying reading the thoughts about painting. I could talk all day about it ...how about you? Thank you about the color. Now go out and create some beautiful lies;=D

Nika said...

What a beautiful lie you've made this morning, Loriann:)
I think of it as inventing/discovering you version of the reality that has it's own logic. The catch is that the "lie" has to be convincing and hold up, within which all the elements have to work to create an illusion of your reality. That's not easy and takes a lifetime to get right.
I just stumbled across this quote this morning, Andrew Wyeth taking about his painting Snow Flurries:
"I find sometimes I may want to end up with subtlety but I have to start out boldly. I think you have got to exaggerate to get it across. I've got to emphasize it in my mind, otherwise it will all become fuzzy. All I can say is that you have to lean over a little to the left and overdo a bit, and then come back into balance, that ever-important balance."
I don't think he's talking about color per say because his landscapes seem to be very subtle when it comes to color but it still applies to us.
It's funny, when I was recently painting in Canada, those masses of dark green conifer trees were everywhere and it was a new thing to me in terms of color. I really saw it pulsing with burgundy underneath and that's the color I used for underpainting them. It left people looking at my painting so frustrated:) I can't tell you how many times I've been asked by the passerby why I were painting those trees red in the beginning!

Sonya Johnson said...

It's wonderful, Loriann, as have been all these recent paintings. I really do admire/envy (well, not really envy, but you know what I mean, hopefully!) your use of color. It is *so hard* to do what you do, I think, to arrive at something that is shimmering with colors that are a departure from the literal view and make it work so well. It's something I aspire to in my own work.

But, this is what makes you an artist - your interpretation of the landscape as your own narrative. It clearly resonates with many; I honestly pity the "helpful passerby" who isn't able to grasp that concept.

The painting is just joyous, for lack of a single better term :).

loriann said...

Thank you Nika, I love lying. You are right the lie does have to be convincing,although sometimes we know it's not that way, but we wish it was. Living in a wish is good too.
Great quote by ANdrew Wyeth. I must say it was a surprise for me to hear him say that you have to start out boldly. But it's true and yes it's a complete back and forth-balance.
Funny some of the things we hear from people when we paint. teehee

Hi Sonya and a heartfelt thank you.
Those passerby will keep passing and we will keep painting.

Sally Veach said...

Thank you Loriann. This very issue is what I am really struggling with. when I get outside, I am usually overwhelmed with the information, and I can't balance going with what I see with creating color harmony. Seems I was better at it when i first started! Oh well. Keep trudging along... My studio paintings are going better, at least there's that!

Jala Pfaff said...

This is great. So vibrant.
Ha, love that person's comment..."real"...ha.
Have missed visiting!

loriann said...

Hi and you are welcome Sally,
Color harmony and decision making is what most painters struggle with outside. Keep at it, soon, it will all come together...at least you will feel good in the studio.

Hi Jala, she's BAAACCCKKKK
good to hear from you and thanks!!!!!

Double "D" said...

Hi B,

Say more with less ... came today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'll be so proud to hang this beauty in a special
place.

Thanks forever!
PB ... Doug

loriann said...

You are so welcome PB!!! I am delighted that it arrived in good condition and that it is now YOURS!

SamArtDog said...

The eagle has landed. Both the thrill (I'm tickled, Elmo) and the thaw (it's 95) are ON in a big way! You're a master packer; it seems fine. The final reveal will be on Monday. Woo-hoo!!!

loriann said...

haha Sam..what drama! I am glad the eagle has landed. I hope your husband likes it. woo-hoo!

Brian McGurgan said...

This is a gorgeous one, Loriann, with the violet, green, and yellow-orange triad working harmoniously for you. The cooler blues at top left are a nice surprise, too.

loriann said...

Hi Brian and thank you!!!!!!

Sara Mathewson said...

Love it, love the colors, always love the colors.

A friend in MN goes to the north shore every year and paints. she tries to find a way out of the way space back in the woods so she won't get interrupted by well meaning people. She always ends up with an entourage. One time a lady sat right next to her on the log she was sitting on and kept saying "I don't see the red", wheres the red? LOL! It is not always easy to paint in the open with such critics:)

You do it beautifully!

Sara

loriann said...

Thanks Sara!
The commentary, uninvited from passerbys is why I prefer to paint in the woods near the Potomac River and fields where there I no traffic. My husband says he gets worried, but I am a firm believer that more of the kooks prey in the cities (like where I live) not the woods. I also will plug into my ipod, even if I don't have it on.

Dale Sherman Blodget said...

Beautiful painting and inspiring words.

Karen said...

It's almost like we have to keep reminding ourselves not to be so literal...NOT to be that helpful paserby that lives in our head!

Val said...

I've been looking at your pastel paintings for quite a while now in my feed reader, and they always strike me as being very beautiful and the kind of artwork I've never really been able to do (which makes them doubly appealing, of course!) I really admire your ability to see nuances of colour and tonality in nature and scenes in which I'd mostly just see shadow and some highlights.