Sunday, May 19, 2013

Avocado Blues & Red Hot Chili Peppers

Avocado Blues

Red Hot Chili Peppers

I’ve been painting a rash of veggie still lives from life on this blue plate, lately! The robin’s egg blue is SO much fun to work with and a striking backdrop for the colorful veg. I’m certain there are plenty of folks out there who would find these colors overkill; they speak to the graphic designer side of my taste preferences. “Less is more” and “keep it simple” are mottos written on my heart and are most evident in my limited brush strokes and color mixtures. I try to paint with as few pigments as possible, preferring to mix colors I need with pigments already in the painting instead of introducing a new one. The results are often surprisingly satisfying with an intuitive feel. For example, instead of reaching for viridian to paint the avocado’s dark skin, I mixed a little cad yellow deep into the manganese blue (the primary pigment in the blue background) and alizarin red mixture that I used for the shadows on the plate. And it reads like the correct green. Manganese blue already leans toward green, anyway.

Still in the “less is more” vein, I’ve been experimenting with covering as much area as possible with a single color before laying down a new one. The results have been very satisfying as well as liberating! Not being overly distracted with all the wonderful details in my subject has allowed me to paint my subject “how I think it should be.”

And lastly, I’ve been working on developing strong value patterns early in a painting; which also speaks to the graphic designer in me! Whether or not a graphic design piece can communicate at all is dependent upon proper value contrasts between the individual elements in the design. Successful paintings hinge on this rule as well, and I think these paintings demonstrate good contrast.