Monday, November 2, 2015

New Work: Industry

12" x 16" acrylic painted papers on wc paper
Finished Piece: 
The above piece was completed yesterday after what seemed like an eternity! I wasn't sure that I was going to get out unscathed. 

The idea of irrigation ditches had come to me a while ago and I had made a sketch illustrating a loose concept. I pulled some imagery from my sketch book and notes. The problems began I think because I started a mock up of the piece using 5 values: white, 3 grays and a black. No color. When I started to paint the papers for the final piece I hadn't really considered color too closely-just the values-so I wasn't quite in tune with what I wanted to say, color wise. Each time I start one of these pieces I do things a little differently. I try something new that I have been thinking about or try to fine tune my existing routine. This works well most times but some days I really need something that is a little more set. No matter though. I just picked away at this when I could. On Saturday I described this mental state to my husband-when the tumblers click into place and I know that everything is going to be OK. I was almost there that afternoon and by Sunday morning, when I really got into the details, I could feel those tumblers clicking away! I can literally see this in my mind's eye. Crazy but true. 

Talkin' Color: 
The other thing that has come up lately for me is using color. Anyone want to discuss this? I have only been painting for about six years but I started things with learning how to mix my primaries to get my secondaries and neutrals. For awhile I had several earth colors in the mix but gave them up when I was more confidant in my mixing skills. Being able to use a limited palette of warm and cool neutrals has probably been one of the most important things that I have tried to learn. Mixing color is an invaluable tool to acquire. Using that color successfully is another matter! I guess that will be ongoing for me. 

Lately though I have been considering what I normally do with color which is to either neutralize it (mix all 3 primaries) or warm it up or cool it down, temperature wise. (I should add that I have pre mixed secondaries available and use them on occasion for neutralizing other colors or adjusting temperature, etc.) It's occurred to me that I might just consider lightening or darkening existing colors. Maybe expanding my palette. I have ventured here before-it's sort of a colorist approach I guess. Using a greater temperature range of each hue could be one idea. Using pre-mixed secondaries is another thought. Placement is always the issue too since no color exists by itself in a vacuum, even when compared to white or black. But, I am interested in design and so I am thinking that a restricted set of colors (no matter how they are achieved) that work strongly together is possibly the right answer. I'd like to learn to be clever about things. Anyway, these are my thoughts.

OK, we have rain! Actual rain falling for an extended period of time. Imagine that! Hope the week if off to a good start. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  1. I like this one. We are a farming community and have irrigation ditches too. I relate to all your symbols.
    Your path to color has obviously worked because I know I trust your color sense. I find that some painters can learn intellectually all about color, but even so cannot quite put it together in a harmonious way. A vision problem maybe? I am not sure but have seen it happen several times.
    I am happy you have rain. It has been good for us here too

  2. Dear Libby- I think values are the most difficult thing for me. I have read by a variety of artists that if the values work- color is secondary. Studying color is always an awesome subject. I generally work with a cool and warm of each of the primaries and then add a green that I can neutralize with a red to get a gray or black. With watercolor I save the white of the paper instead of using Chinese white. I agree a limited palette works best for me. Too many colors and I seem to lose cohesiveness. Well have a delightful day.

  3. I love this work "industry"...I think that it points out that industry is a very positive thing. I especially enjoy the suggested movement.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it! I reply back in an email if you are signed in and I can see your address. Otherwise I will post the reply here under your comment. I tend to cut and paste my emails too so that others can experience the back and forth which I think is integral to blogging.