Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Class 5— October 28 — Palette Shift

A subtle shift in color can make a difference in mood, energy and place, so at this class we’re going to do three small (4x6” to 6x9”) paintings, one in grayscale and two others with a limited color scheme. We’ll slightly shift the palette and see the beauty of using subtle varieties of colors for each one. 

I want you to find a photograph that invites a harmonic color scheme, perhaps one that has a majority of one color, such as warm pinks and violets at sunset, or a blue lake and mountain reflections. Be sure it has a dynamic range of values, too, with some strong contrasting dark and light colors.  Bring your color wheel with you to class, as well as three pieces of paper or canvas that are all the same size. 

Analyze your photograph and select the single most important color in it. For instance, in this photograph, choose the color you think is the key color. Spend time analyzing which color you believe is most influential. There is no right answer, it's up to you as the artist, but I think you can see that there is a definite color bias.

Then I want you to take a few minutes to look at this wonderful online tool, called THE GAMUT MASK. It's not absolutely necessary to do this for our class on Thursday, but I've found it very interesting and thought provoking. If you're using pastels you won't be mixing colors, but you can select a harmonious palette that you can then shift slightly one direction or the other on the palette. Play around with it, if you like, to see how a subtle shift in color can affect things. Use that predominant color and find the gamut of colors you want to use in your little paintings. 

For instance, here are two color schemes I might use, the first based on what I see in the original photo, and the second a much more purple-orange version of it. 

In class we'll do a much more traditional approach. We'll make a quick grayscale painting from the photograph, finding the values. This need not be a detailed painting, only a rendition to help you see the values. It's helpful to bring a grayscale version of the photo:

You can use a range of gray pastels, or black and white paint. The idea is to find those values, assign a set of colors to use (inspired by the original color photo--the first palette) and paint a small version of that, and then shift the palette (the second one) and paint it again, this time from the grayscale painting. All three paintings should be on the same surface, painted the same size, but any kind of paper is fine with me. I think white or neutral toned paper or canvas will be best.

This is a fun and demanding exercise, so come prepared to dig in and really think about COLOR!!

Also bring last week's paintings to show, as always. I'll be curious to know how you did with a complex background. 

See you on Thursday,