Friday, February 10, 2017

Serious color fun

The Conversation
After obsessing about the detail in the last sketch, I really wanted to clear my mind out and do something completely non-objective and try to find a pleasing 2D design out of just color blocks. However, the instant I touched paint to paper I thought, I want to paint a giant bouquet. I roughed in the outline of a big vase on a table with curved legs—which turned into wishbones—and then added a backlit doorway with two figures conversing as they walk. I was trying to use up the leftover paint from the day before, but started with lighter values. It started out lighter than it finished; I wanted some darker shading in the background.

I did have trouble picking colors that looked good together. I started out with two hues of reds for the pinks, with a grayed pink for the left wall, but replaced that with a light lavender for a livelier harmony. After that I added peach for warmth and tried three different tints of yellows, plus peach and lime green, on the floor. On the bouquet I tried a few colors I didn't keep, then a few more that I left in small spots, and lastly the colors I chose for the dominant colors, yellow, orange, and lime green. I had only a general feeling of effusiveness that I wanted to convey, like the magnificent bouquets you see at flower shows  and gardening seminars.

As the layers of unsuccessful washes built up in the lower half and acquired their own patina I decided to exploit this de facto impressionism and play it up in the rest of the painting. That part was really fun; there's something rebellious about applying a color you know isn't the right one. I used to think that never being able to mix the same color twice was the biggest problem with acrylics; now I'm seeing it as a definite bonus. Most hues are semi-transparent at least, and when you use thinner washes you get a lot of the same effect as layering colored pencils.

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