Back in the studio after a little Holiday Break! During Christmas I was given a big bag of oranges and lemons picked fresh from the trees in their backyard in AZ. Very exciting was the fact that the stems and leaves were still attached! We just don't get that here in Minnesota! So I went fast to work in the studio 'practicing what I preach', studying the color!
"Make much out of little, not little out of Much!" - Charles Hawthorne
I tell my students to keep their lights and darks separate, and even if it's painful, block in the average relative colors. Not a literal interpretation of what you see when you look directly into the color, but what it is compared to it's neighbor colors.
They often ask me if this is how I REALLY paint, well here's the proof!
For this entire study I used a basic primary palette of Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Ultra Marine Blue and Titanium White.
Starting by blocking in the average darks (shadow areas), identify as best you can the difference in colors between the different darks. I eliminate the tertiary at first to really 'push' the differences. I will modify this later on in the painting.
Once shadows are blocked in, start blocking in the areas of light. If your light is warm, then your shadows will be 'cooler'. It's all relative remember. You might think that the red in the far right orange is warm, but it's cooler than yellow! And Orange is composed of yellow and red. Making orange 'warmer' than red! Again, it's all relative!
Notice how each lit area in the oranges are slightly different than each other. This is not by chance, it was carefully studied and observed. Painting light with color is a manipulation of color temperatures and saturations.
Getting all areas relatively massed in and making any adjustments I see needed. Until you get all the averages covered, it's difficult to tell if you got it right! It 'ain't' over till it's over!
The rest of the painting is careful and subtle observation of notes of colors within the averages. Each stroke I make represents a plane change in each light or dark to best represent form and light.
The finished painting! It's finished because I like it and each stroke symbolizes either a plane change, light, or dark and it's all relative to each other creating harmony and unity!
Keep posted in days to come. I'll be breaking this process down further.
It's not what you paint, it's how you paint it!