Monday, October 4, 2010

Still Life Mania

Here is this week's assignment.  I am working on finishing up the project I talked about last week, and I'm also working on a larger cityscape, so I should have some more things to post this week.  With this painting I really tried to get back to basics and work with color.  This was the first week we were really allowed to use a full palette, which is pretty intimidating when you first try to tackle it.  My critiques about colors were such that I really wanted to stop for a moment and really focus on how colors turn through space.  Basically I had been making the shadows on the objects too harsh, too cool.  So my professor was giving some great tips on how to get the object to turn through space.  

For example, on a red object, say it is bright red, like the apple on the right.  You almost never use bright red straight out of the tube.  Rather, as the apple turns towards the light, you will use some yellow, since the light source is yellow.  You can't use white exclusively, or your apple will turn pink.  So I used a combination of a lighter red paint, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre and a touch of white.  Then as the apple turns away from the light, the shadow will get cooler than the red of the apple.  Because it is a warm colored object, cooler also means that it will be slightly grayer (not as saturated).  To accomplish this, I used some of the cadmium red light, mixed with alizarin crimson (a very bluish red) and a small touch of viridian (cool green).  

I've been having the most problem with yellows.  I was making them entirely too harsh on the shadow side.  In the end, I found a great mixture winds up being a dull yellow from Tera Rosa, Cadmium Yellow Light, Yellow Ochre and a smaaaall touch of Ultramarine.  If you just combine cadmium yellow light and violet (ultramarine and alizarin crimson) it can get too cool too quickly.  You almost have to combine the yellow with a red violet to get (more alizarin than ultramarine) in order to get a good shadow.  

I'm working really hard at mixing colors by using the colors next to each other on the color wheel, so they don't turn muddy.  So much thought and science goes into this.  Who would have thought?

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