Wednesday, August 15, 2012


RUGGED BEAUTY    14X18     oil on linen
From time to time, I like to take a painting that I've done and rethink it.  Like, "How could I treat this differently, and learn something?"  In this case, I wanted to make some conscious color decisions using schematic choices tied to the color wheel.  In this painting I raised the value relationships to a lighter "key", and increased the chroma levels of the main colors.  I also enjoy the more somber colors of the original painting, but the experiment was very helpful to my understanding of color, and its expressive qualities.  It "feels" different.  It creates a different mood.

Below is the first version of this painting, and a color wheel tool that I put together to compare the hue positions in three different popular color systems.  These are the Triadic, Munsell and Real color wheels.  All three will provide harmonies using basic color scheme plans, but the results will differ depending upon which system you use.

Some of my painter friends respond, "!?", when I talk about this stuff.  They tell me they just do what comes by natural intuition, and don't want to be hindered by any "artificial systems".  Intuition is certainly a valuable asset to a painter, but not a useful excuse for being uninformed about what makes color and design work.  Besides that, intuition improves as our familiarity increases with respect to how various elements are known to perform.  Most musicians prefer working within the structures of musical scales, rather than what they may discover while working with random noise.  The point is not to be hindered, but freed to experiment with purpose and predictability.

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