Sunday, April 25, 2010

Being Expressive

This little drawbridge in Perkins Cove, Maine has always reminded me of a bridge in one of Van Gogh's paintings. The subject matter and the buildings in the background are so complicated that I didn't have a hope of literally reproducing them. My only option was to express my reaction to the busy scene.

My thinking was that color would help that goal, and that small shapes would create a lot of movement around the white bridge. Expressive color trumps grays and neutrals anytime you want to create a vibrant scene. If I had wanted to express a calm and quiet harbor, vivid colors are not the choice I would have made. Also, hard edges demand more attention than soft, wet-in-wet edges.

Expressive colors are invented and certainly not faithful to the local colors. But they can make for a more exciting painting than being literal to both the colors and the objects in the scene. Take a flying leap into expressive color and fall in love with color all over again!


  1. Love this painting! The white structure somehow unites all the vivid colors. Your composition is amazing to me. I guess the more brush miles you have, the stronger your paintings become.

  2. Thanks, Bobbie! I like the phrase "brush miles." It certainly sums up how many years it took to get this confident with my brushstrokes.
    Thanks for reading. Spread the word!