Sunday, November 30, 2008

Colour or value?

An artist is either good at color or good at value but rarely good at both. I focus on the tonal range, the dark-light effects, rather than the full color range of bright colors. I just don't know what to do with all those cadmiums. (Thomas S. Buechner)
I saw this quote and it rang true to me today as I continued to fight with the colours in my self portrait. I have successes in values, then screw up the colours. Right now the skintone isn't what I want it to be. Its overworked and somewhat chalky, making me look as if I've been ill for a long time. I am determined to conquer it and I make side trips into other little paintings that dont' require the same level of concentration or palette. My palette, above, it becoming more exciting than the portrait right now.

I think my personal battle is that I'm trying to be painterly and traditional at the same time. I need to either loosen up or go tighter, or just make up my mind which way I want to go.

I so wish I'd kept up with my oils....the transition back is harder than I anticipated.

But the ducks are happy. BD and Buddy, my favourite Muscovies, found a huge puddle after a day of torrential rain yesterday. While they don't like actually getting into water, they do like to at least pretend to bathe by dipping a beak in and preening. The geese on the other hand, just jump right in and have a party.


Katherine Tyrrell said...

Go on - jump into all that colour and have a party!

Anita said...

I understand the painterly/precision struggle as I am in the middle of it too. I do really like painterly but am trapped in my control freak personality!
Not sure I agree that you can't be good at both tonal value and colour - I think you have to learn to do both or at least to see them as two sides of the same coin. I think the best artists are the ones who can see that they go hand in hand.

Anonymous said...

Ditto the struggle between tight and loose. I'm to the point that In trying to loosen up I limit the size of the brush I use (not too small!) depending on the size of the painting.
As far as color, it's no secret in my work that I love color. Sometimes I think I may use too much. Though I think that amount or #s of colors can easily be confused with color saturation.
Value to me is critical and comes first, then I try to use color to create those values.

Hang in there! I've found that it's always darkest before the dawn! (figuratively)

Jeanette said...

I may need a bit of a push!

Anita, I need a big canvas, a big brush and no detail to sidetrack me. Almost an abstractish landscape perhaps. Then I think the colours and values will sort themselves.

Tracy, thank heavens there are others like me! I love colour but am scared of it a bit too. Likely due to lack of practice for years. As I said to Anita, I just need to do it and stop thinking about it and it should be a departure in many ways from my usual style.