Thursday, October 09, 2008

Light and Color in Painting

Upper Falls at Grand Portage, MN
original oil on artboard canvas, 10 x 8 inch, $150 plus shipping (framed w/ simple oak frame)
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

After learning about a technique for painting light and color this past week, I am very excited to try it out. The author, Susan Sarback, actually has a system that she uses. In her book, "Capturing Radiant Light & Color in Oils and Soft Pastels", she applies four different stages during the painting process that shows one how to find the subtleties that are found in nature or the subject being painted.

The stages are to: 1) put in all the large major color masses, 2) refine the major masses, 3) develop the three-dimensional quality using color variations and 4) complete the color variations and develop the edges. She uses bright colors for the initial major color masses and then further develops them into warm/cool variations. The entire process is fascinating.

In the next couple of days, I hope to actually apply what I am reading in the book to a real painting experience. During the process, I will attempt to try Susan's school of thought on color and light. I promise to take photos of this attempt and post them so that others can see my attempt at trying to do this.

My plan is to set up a still life - a simple one to start with - just to get the basics down. This should be fun and a great learning experience. I hope to have this done by Monday or Tuesday. See you then with an update. Light and color full speed ahead.

If others have a favorite color method, I would love to hear your thoughts on it.


Sylvia Jenstad said...

Had to stop... really cool... love your colours... the light ... everything... I also love Waiting for a Crew...

MaryAnn Cleary said...

Thanks for looking, Sylvia. Both of these paintings were done plein air. Working from life is so much more challenging than a photo, as one sees so many color variations.

Tiia said...

Whoa! Your paintings are really awsome. My grandfather, who is an artist, said once that water is difficult to make look like "alive". That waterfall definately IS alive :D

MaryAnn Cleary said...

Thanks, Tiia. For this painting, I decided to use a palette knife for the waterfall section. Initially, I did try using a brush, but it just didn't get the effect that I wanted. The palette knife seemed to be the best tool to get the essence of the water flowing over the rocks.