Wednesday, June 4, 2008

So many reds...

Last month I was very impressed with two paintings I saw at Robyn Sinclair’s blog, Have Dogs Will Travel. Her paintings of red tulips and cherries were bright and beautiful. Looking at them, I developed “red envy” and decided it was time to overcome my red problem - the inability to paint anything red to my satisfaction. In order to do this I plan on spending some time with the color red.

When I attempt to paint a red object it ends up either a bright, garish color, or has a muddy, dull, opaque appearance. In part, these outcomes are the result of my failure to think through appropriate color choices for creating values prior to beginning a project. And my lack of experience with the color. Neither one is an insurmountable problem, right?

In an effort to learn to use the color red more effectively, I’m going to work with color charts, experiment with different combinations and paint a lot of red objects. Maybe by the end of the month, I will be able to produce a complete painting, incorporating my (anticipated) newfound skill with red paint.

I picked a good time for this project because during June and July Katherine Tyrrell at Making a Mark is focusing on color. I know I will find a lot of valuable information on her website.

Today I made a color chart of all the red watercolors I own. When I buy a new art book, inevitably the artist/author recommends a red paint that I do not have (Vermilion! Scarlet Lake! Winsor Red!). I often go out and buy the color, only to discover it is very, very similar to one I already own. So I am not going to buy any more reds. The reds on this chart either lean towards a blue/red, or an orange/red. Most of my colors lean towards blue/red. The first four colors on the chart look remarkably similar, as does the Wilcox Quinacrodone Violet and Winsor Newton Permanent Rose. The two colors on the right(Schmincke and DaVinci Cad red light) are orange/reds. I don’t see much difference between them. The Winsor Newton Quinacrodone Red also seems to be an orange/red in the heaviest application, but not when it is diluted, so I'm not sure and will have to experiment with it.

Now I’m off to see what I can find out about using the color red from my reference books.


willow said...

Exciting and interesting new project, Sharon.

A Brush with Color said...

This is going to be educational for me, too. I'll have to observe along with you as you delve into all the reds. I always feel like my reds are opaque and heavy and I'm not good with them. I need to study all colors, for that matter, but I'm going to be intrigued with your studies. Nice start to this theme!

Robyn said...

Sharon, I was astonished and touched to stumble upon your mention of my work. It's really delighted me. Thank you.

What actually brought me back here was that I love your watercolours. So there - mutual admiration :)

I just counted my reds - 10! If I take in the pinks and brown reds it's close to 20!!!! And I've bought most of them the same way you have by picking up on mentions of particular colours in books and blogs.

And which ones do I use? LOL. I too have settled on Alizarin Crimson as my favourite, and apart from writing 'not light fast' on the colour swatch I willfully continue to use it because everything I paint is still a learning exercise.