Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fall Colors
36 x 40 Oil on Linen

In Vermont we have two versions of fall colors, the famous autumn leaves for the tourists and the harvest for the farmers and gardeners. A comparison of the two gives us an excellent opportunity to discuss how artists mix colors. Let's take, for example, a pumpkin and a maple tree full of orange leaves. Both are bright orange but one is brilliant and the other, by contrast, somewhat subdued. The maple is in full voice, the pumpkin is singing sotto voce. To convey the intensity of the maple leaves the artist uses pure colors. You can make a wide variety of oranges by mixing cadmium yellows, from lemon to yellow deep, with the cadmium reds. If it is too gaudy reduce the chromatic value by using the less severe earth colors, yellow ochre, terra rosa, siennas and umbers. Stay away from black and white as much as possible as they will rob your tree of its color. When you paint the pumpkin however black and white are your best friends, we want the pumpkin to be a bold but less intense orange. By slowly adding white we can gently bleach, and thereby mute, the color in the lights. A touch of black will delicately drain the color in the shadows, be careful not to use too much or your pumpkin will start to look moldy. Combine the two and you will have a lovely gray to subdue the color in the middle range, should you wish to do so. I'm not fond of rules so take these thoughts as my observations, not as formulas, and use them as you please.....

3 comments:

I Want To Be An Artist said...

This - like ALL of your work is absolutely beautiful!

Walter Lynn Mosley said...

I like the harmonious color, bright but certainly not garish, the orange / blue contrast is subtle. Overall the painting is harmonious and beautiful, great job!

Eulalia (Lali) Benejam Cobb said...

What a pleasure to see the completed work and read the perfect little tutorial that accompanies it. More, please!

BTW, how did the pumpkin hold up?