...serenity in motion
White isn’t always white just as black isn’t always black and then there are greys…
A woman recently posted a picture of a white dog and asked for advice on how to render it. People talked about underpainting, directional lines but most of us talked about the different colors we see in the dog. I saw cream, yellow, purple, cool grey blues…… I didn’t really see white. Being an artists, we realize that there are very few true whites, blacks or greys. Snow is actually clear crystals reflecting the colors around it so most of the time it is varying shades of blues and greens and browns…..
I was teaching a class this week, and someone held up one of my “blacks” I said it’s a green. “How can you tell?” she asked.
“Well, that comes from a fabulous collection of darks by Terry Ludwig and each one is a very dark color”
“How can you tell?” she asked again.
“I look at it.” Boy did that get me a look.
Sometimes we need to compare it with another color or just put the color down on a piece of scrap but the point is, don’t take everything at face value with a quick glance. Painting and drawing is about pushing and thinking. Pushing the boundaries of what you are looking at, through what you truly see to the statement you want to make. Complicated? Maybe but it takes a bit of courage to be a good artist. One of my students in the same class put so many different colors in her snow field that it was alive. It didn’t just lay there; you were pulled in and because she echoed the color elsewhere in her composition; you followed it throughout the whole piece.
When I do water, it looks alive because I put different colors next to lights I use to create reflections. There are blues, browns, greens…. Because water is clear and reflects as well as showing you what is beneath.
Take the time to really study what you want to render, look for the colors in the whites to black. You might just realize; it wasn’t black or white at all. Bring the color in and if you make a mistake, no worries. This isn’t going to affect the way the world functions. None of us are Monet, Manet or Dega. We aren’t painting the Sistine Chapel and chances are, it isn’t going to end up in a museum somewhere. If we are lucky, someone might just pay us for it. In the interim, enjoy playing with color.