Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Color Wheel Plus Tubes and Bottles of Colorful Paint

I have to admit, I AM a color junkie. While I bemoan the fact companies bring out new colors barely distinguishable from older ones, I belly up to the bar the minute there's a hint of a sale. I bet in small acrylic paints I have nearly 300 colors! Really. Tubes of it are around 30.

What got me to think about this was putting up some new (old depending on your view) paintings on my Etsy store, alankrugfineart.etsy.com. One was an oil I had left unfinished for a few years, the other a wild acrylic that took a boring scene and after madly adding colors it took you by the neck and shook you around a bit.

It was the oil painting though that gave me pause. It was originally a plein air oil painting of a garden. I loved the scene but never could achieve the vibrancy of real life. Suddenly I took it down where it was hidden in the hall, dragged out my by now neglected oils and added the reds and yellows, deep and lighter greens and lavenders for the shade and got it to pop! Yes, I took a lesson from Van Gogh and put the colors directly on a palette knife and went to town! It is now exactly what I wanted and had hoped to achieve.

While I have my share of oil paint tubes, my original teacher had a fondness for turquoises and greens that we all bought willy nilly at Dick Blick as well as other colors to "augment" the basic 12 or so colors that the masters have used since the Renaissance! I may have 30 tubes or so but some are duplicates. I didn't have the color? Well, I mixed it. Then I discovered the world of acrylics.

I tackled "Stairway to Heaven" an all acrylic painting next. Here I had to be sure I used the right bottle of paint. Picky picky picky. That drew me up short. With almost 300 bottles of paint, some so close to each other even I, who has a very critical color sense, might have trouble telling the difference. Because I didn't write it down (that's another blog) I grabbed what I thought was the closest and then put bits of it all over the painting just to be sure. This time I rubbed the colors softly, "expressionist" style over the wild colors and textures to smooth it down without losing the vibrancy the painting had.

Peaking through my work area, I have a glass top bench, was my color wheel. Truth be told I rarely use it. I have violated the rules for so long that I oftentimes wonder, why bother. This time though, I studied it and realized that in most cases I was using the complements of colors on the wheel but not in ways most painters do today. I never wanted colors to be jarring. I want them to compliment each other and in either my craft items or paintings leave surprises for the viewer to discover. I bemoan the fact our world is so dull. I remember vermillion and white or turquoise and white cars with matching interiors. A glance at a parking lot today is nothing but white, black and silver cars. I remember women weren't afraid of colorful frocks and men's shirts, while maybe garish were not black.

My advice? USE COLOR!!! If you have trouble with your colors get a color wheel. Put it where you can see it and start using it. Every season is a chance to be colorful...spring, summer, especially fall and even winter with subtle grays and whites with stark black. We have so many chances in our lives to use color why not start now?

Do you need all those colors? Probably not. If you are getting started or it an old hand, get a new book, take out just the recommended colors and see if you can't create just about every color you will ever need. Don't be like those people at the craft shows that have to have "that" color. I learned long ago if you wanted to get it done, mix a little of this and a little of that and move on!

Visit Krugsstudio@etsy.com for some colorful crafts and alankrugfineart.etsy.com for some interesting oil and acrylic paintings. Thank you for reading my blog.

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