Sunday, September 7, 2014

Laurel's Lesson

I'm teaching a private student for two days.  Today's lesson was on mixing colors on the paper rather than mixing them on the palette. 

I started by mixing the primary colors to create the secondary colors:  blue and yellow make green, blue and red make violet, and yellow and red make orange.  (bottom row).

Then we mixed complementary colors on the page to create a range of grays. (Top row)  Blue and orange (actually burnt sienna which is a dirty orange),  green and red for a cool gray, and yellow and violet for a warmer gray.

Next I painted the quarter sheet sized painting of the lighthouse and beach.  My point was that literally translating green pine trees a uniform color and tone doesn't produce much excitement or credit for being accurate.  Exciting color comes from mixing the colors on the paper, juxtaposed just enough that the colors bleed into each other.  Going back and forth over the same area with too many brushstrokes over-mixes the colors and will make them appear muddy.  Put down any warm color, then immediately paint a cool color next to it so the two bleed together.  Continue to apply color as you did in the practice squares.

Finally, I showed Laurel how to remove some paint by applying wet strokes to the dry wash mixtures, counting to ten slowly, and then wiping the area where the clear water is with Kleenex.  That created the trees, the sun and its reflection, the petals and the lighthouse.  Then you can glaze over the initial wash with some darker values. 

These practice exercises are the equivalent to practicing scales in music.  Don't stop practicing.  Practice until it becomes second nature, and then you can speed up your painting decisions and keep your washes fresh and lively.

No comments:

Post a Comment