Sunday, September 30, 2012

Limited Palette

This is the lobster pound next to Knickercane Island.  For years when I painted it literally, it was most unsatisfying.  Using local colors and adhering to actual colors, I failed at making a clear statement about the subject.  The sky was blue, the trees were green, is the building.  And that's the way I painted it.
I often wished that the building was painted another color so it wouldn't so closely match the trees behind it.

One day, the lightbulb went on.  What if the owners painted their shack white?  Then I could paint it white and it would stand out among the green trees in the background and form a more interesting shape!  So I made the decision to paint it white.  I also decided to render the trees in colors that were more in unity with the colors elsewhere in the painting.  Soon I had a limited palette that helped unify the painting in a way that literalism had failed to do.

Try a limited palette on a familiar subject.  Then try another limited combination.  Always consider the rights of the picture over literalism.

Tomorrow I start the wandering journey home to St. Louis.  If I find something interesting to paint or sketch, and I have the time, I'll post from the road!

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