Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Third Painting Class Assignment

     We have had a number of painting class assignments since my last post, from painting a row of trees using a random technique designed to loosen our approach, to painting an accurate image in proper perspective of a stucco ranch home. Each class and homework assignment covered a different range of skills and subject matter. This photo shows my most recent completed assignment . 

     For this class, Anthony Whiting brought in copies of a color photo of the well-known "lone cypress" on the Pacific Coast near Monterrey, CA for us to use as a reference for our homework assignment. In class, we began with sketches to determine our particular composition and interpretation of the scene in the photo. Working on the painting on heavy art paper in acrylics at home, I decided to try an under painting method Anthony had suggested at one point--to paint all or major areas of a planned work with the complementary color of the eventual hue. You can see the somewhat garish results below, which is the actual first stage of the homework painting above. I did not use an under painting for the sky area because I wanted to keep it pale and delicate, as it was in our reference photo. 

     One advantage of the complementary under painting here is that the top layer colors really pop against their opposites (orange and yellow under the blue and purple hues in the ocean; purple and grey-blue under the yellow and orange toned rock). In addition, leaving areas where the under painting shows through in the finished work gives the water more movement and a livelier look than painting it only with blues and purples on white paper would have achieved and creates interesting shadows and hollows in the rock. You can click on the image to enlarge it and to see more detail of the under painting peeking through. The palette for the painting itself included ultramarine blue, Paynes grey, burnt sienna, alizarin crimson, Indian yellow, cadmium yellow light, and Titanium white.

     This series of painting classes has been inspiring and helpful for me. Each new assignment and technique provides a learning opportunity, whether or not it seems logical or is within my comfort zone at first. This particular homework assignment yielded particularly pleasing results, and the complementary under painting is a technique I will use again in the future.

Question of the day: When you view visual art works, how great a factor is color in your preferences and enjoyment? Do you tend to prefer brighter or more subdued hues, contrasting or similar colors in the overall piece?


  1. Color is probably the first thing that draws me to a painting. I'm immediately drawn to the cooler colored paintings. Pastel color schemes grab me when colors such as green and pink are used, or orange and red and pink. I just love color!!

    Love your painting and the trick of using complements as an underpainting. In watercolors, I tend to not use an underpainting, I guess. Of course the first layer of color could be considered that though.

  2. I like the color pink and green. pink and green remind me of rainbow. When it rians sometime when the sun out. When there is a rainbow in the sky. That why pink and green also orange. Thes colors remind me of a rainbow in the sky.

  3. I love when you paint. Where yall go for your summer family vacation. I hope you will paint and paint the places were yall go for your summer family vacation. I wish my family would get together and family do a family summer vacation. Like your sons do with yall. My family they are busy doing other things. Maybe sometime some of my family we will go on a family summer vacation. I like to go on vacation alot to. I gusse are just like my adopted family. Since we like to go on family vacation in the summer. I hope you don't mind. If i adopted you and your family as my adopted family. I hope you have a very nice summer. I love you very much. much Love Anonymous

  4. Hi Sherry, sorry to be so slow in responding--has been a good, but busy time. I also love color, although usually deeper or medium range colors more than pastels. In fact, sometimes having fun with color reduces my awareness of tonal range and balance in a painting. One way to check how I'm doing on tones (beyond squinting while viewing the work) is to hang a work-in-progress across from my bed so that I see it in very low light at night and in the morning. Even very different hues (say, red and green) look similar in low light if they are in the same tonal range.

    I agree, Anonymous, that rainbow colors are wonderful.

  5. I like the rock a lot. It remind aboat that story God and the rock. I forgot what bible story that was aboat God and the rock.