I used to think I was a tonal painter. All about the lights and darks. Whilst that is still true, and I take care never to overlook my values, colour plays the main role in my work.
I’ve been feeling like I want to revisit basics with my landscape painting. No crisis, as such, just a chance to consolidate. Particularly to make sure I wasn’t neglecting value, and also I want to be more creative with composition. I tend to go for whole scenes from a distance, usually with lots of sky. I wonder how I’ll handle a smaller vista.
Colour too, is something I want to explore further. I like deviating from local colour, but I’m not terribly imaginative when it comes to making up a colour combination. Thankfully, we live in a technicolor dream world so I can just look around me – and there are some amazing resources for colour inspiration out there.
So I thought I would paint a familiar scene in a different colour palette. I probably should have photographed a swatch of each colour side by side for this post, but I forgot. The colours I chose to work with were quite narrow in range – 4 blues, 3 greens. I know. All in various hues and value, but still. Nonetheless, I like monchrome, I told myself. And I do. Especially pen and ink, or watercolour. Lovely.
I chose a warm red (cad medium) to tone my canvas, only a little 5 x 5 (I haven’t got all day). Here’s the progress pics:
I quite like how much red is showing through in the first photo. I work by doing a rough drawing with some diluted paint, then get in the big shapes. I started with my lights first, so they stay cleaner and preserved, then straight to darks, then mid tones. Push and pull, push and pull. In the bottom photo you can see the original. That bottle isn’t some fancy art supply, it’s Optrex.
And I ended up with this, which I rather like:
Why the hell did I do this to it then?
The simplicity is lost. I think I rushed in with this burnt orange colour to pep it up. I had to get in my own way and not just let the first version sit before I added in a pop of colour.
So now the big dilemma is: repair or wipe before the paint dries? Or, have a glass of wine and look at it in the morning. Sorted.