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?