Monday, August 6, 2012

seeing color, Matisse, and planning color in a painting

Color. Think of it like this: Everyone looks; painters see. When painters see it's not just about rods and cones. It's about the process of noticing values, temperatures, and shapes, all which influence how that color will be seen.
Gertrude Stein once asked Henri Matisse if he looked at the tomato he was eating in a special, artistic way. Replied Matisse, "No, when I eat a tomato I look at it the way anyone else would. But when I paint a tomato, then I see it differently."
So many factors determine the daily changes of color in the landscape. With so many variables, when planning a painting, there are important ideas to keep in mind.
1. Start with a plan. Do not go into your painting willy-nilly. When on location and before painting, talk to yourself. "I see......, the chroma is most intense here... the color of the light is...."
2.Once you know that -limit your palette. You can try a split- complementary or you can use other tried and true combinations: triad, complementary, analogous, analogous plus others. Once you choose it stick to it.
3. Use color to make space. Atmospheric perspective says the landscape gets cooler as it recedes, except for blue which gets warmer/greyer. To accentuate space you can also use warmer colors in front. These aren't rules and yes you can have a cool shadow in the front.
4.Remember the diva. The diva is the place you want everyone's eyes to go to. Use your colors contrasts, sharpest lines right where she sits. You can also use one special color in your diva, and then not repeat it anywhere else unless you grey or tint/shade it.
5. You can use broken color to add vibration...but only use it in limited places. In the top painting I used different colors of the same value, broken, in the sky. Similar colors were used in the water, but that was smoothed to say water.
6. Be brave, have fun and embrace mistakes...they could be your door to somewhere new.


John O'Grady said...

Thank you Loriann,
for these really useful guidelines. Great Matisse quote

Celeste Bergin said...

Fantastic teaching blogpost. Very valuable information. I especially appreciate the final line about bravery and mistakes. Excellent advice.

loriann signori said...

Thanks John. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Hi Celeste! Thank you about my blog post. I appreciate your input.Looks like you had fun n you plein air event.

Donna T said...

Thanks Loriann! I always have a value plan but now you've got me thinking about color plans. The challenge will be sticking to that plan and not putting in every color I see!

loriann signori said...

You are so right Donna...that's the trick for everyone. I hope you are feeling better!