Saturday, June 16, 2018

New Work: Up, Up and Away.

Up, Up, and Away
20" x 20" acrylic on canvas
It's hard to believe but I have been picking away at this painting since the beginning of June. One thing and another has taken over working on this piece. I tend to lose track of things when this happens and sometimes forget my original intent. I know that I wanted to utilize the color yellow more. I have a terribly hard time working with it, trying to get just the color that I want. Yellow can really have a lot of blue underneath it making the color appear as a yellow green instead of something warmer. I have found a good trick is to add a little quinacridone magenta. It warms up the yellow just enough and seems to neutralize that greenish cast at the same time. Very effective. 

I will say that most of the time I am grasping for colors that will do something to one another when placed next to each other. What happens most often is a difference in values-light against dark, same value against same value, that kind of thing. Sometimes I get what I call a "chroma" hit. A very chromatic color, something very intense and bright, will be highlighted against a more neutral color, sometimes a tint. And sometimes I get what I call a "direct" hit-two chromatic colors right next to each other, possible opposites on the color wheel. It makes a powerful, larger shape. Lots of times I set out to highlight a particular color, say maybe I want to use a lot of red. Red could turn into the dominant feeling. I hardly ever though stick with this plan. At some point, the painting starts to tell me what it wants. I find that most often, it's this kind of dialogue between me and the painting that ends up turning the piece into what it eventually becomes. There is no real sense anymore in trying to plan stuff out. I start with a plan but that quickly gets put aside. It's taken me a long time to get to this point, creatively speaking. 

The title is sort of based on a hike that I had this week. I was slogging up a longish hill to reach the top. Slogging is the right word too, make no mistake about it. All the triangles in the above piece remind me of mountains. I had the idea that I would have liked to sail gracefully up that hill, kind of an up, up and way feeling. No chance! Feet of lead! Hopefully my painting feels lighter.

Hope that everyone has had a good week. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  1. Great post, Libby. I really like the warm yellow and the tones that appear to be a bit more towards orange.

    It has been too hot here to even think about slogging up our mountains!

    1. I bet it's hot there. And muggy too. Not for me at all. Starting to really appreciate the winter!

      I am trying to work on the yellows and oranges but have such a hard time getting colors that I want. It's going to take some experimenting I guess. Still, I am happy with the way this piece turned out.

      Hope all is well. Thank you for visiting!

  2. Libby - the colors and the triangles are just lovely candy for my eyes. I don't think of mountains but colored papers that are floating up and away. Sorry I haven't visited sooner - been on a blogging break. Back now. Have a Happy Fourth of July - hugs!

  3. Wow, Libby, your words add so much to my viewing of this recent painting. Now I see the mountains, and I have never thought about color so much as now! I'm a very instinctual artist/maker. I have to admit that I know very little about color beyond the basic color wheel. It is always a pleasure to see what you're up to and I'm enjoying your series of abstract paintings. And I can see what you mean about yellow!! :)


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