Saturday, February 27, 2010

Adapting Color

For me, to be a colorist gives me exceptional freedom and opportunities for creativity. It's what really inspires me within a painting, the limitless options and opportunity I have simply by manipulating the color.

Many contemporary colorists fall into the trap of painting with a limited tonal range, strong colors in similar hues, perhaps with only one or two other 'key colors' placed to create drama (these are often complimentary colors). This can make for dramatic and emotional work, but it can also miss an opportunity. I feel there's a wealth of options available to us when we choose to adapt and change colors within a subject.

Often I like to approach my color adaptations by finding a single element (or perhaps the lighting) within the scene that inspires, and then manipulate all other colors around that theme. The color of a few or many elements may change, some slightly, others dramatically. Working from this single element or concept and relating that to other elements within the scene, adjusting colors as appropriate.

This method can produce dramatic eye catching paintings, with strong colors but with a wide variety of color too.

From time to time I enjoy using this technique, but working from a more subdued palette range. Producing something that has arguably a less challenging or showy presentation, this I feel presents a nice contrast to some of my more 'punchy' palette choices. Of course, in this painting it's not completely understated; I couldn't resist making a dramatic red back cloth, but other colors fall into line with that color choice -

As you can see from this detail below I changed the coloring on the fabric dramatically, but were often I would have used dramatic color, I chose muted earth based tones.


  1. Your work is very fun and vibrant, love all the colors you put together so well. Just came over from Wet canvas and also became a fan on facebook!!

  2. The coloring is wonderful, I am sure you are secure in your choices, I love your work, hope to follow your blog, and watch a master...
    You know you've got something special.
    I wish you the best!
    If you wish to show in a little gallery...
    Your welcome any day at mine!
    Your fan Caroline