|3/17/17 colored pencils|
Whenever I see the work of artists who liberally interpret hues in lively ways (and here I’m talking about urban sketches and other realistic work, not abstract art), I’m awe-struck with admiration. Grass and trees don’t have to be green – whaaaat?? My eye is delighted, and my brain accepts it, yet when I try to do it myself, I feel stumped. Ummm, those trees look green. What color would I make them, if not green?
The colored pencil class I’m taking is helping me “see” many more hues in those trees besides green, which is essential for rich shading and modeling, so I’m hoping my exploration of color eventually expands into my urban sketching, and I won’t be such a slave to “actual” hues. Because of the class, I’m also getting a bit braver about using color complements to help with and even direct the hues I choose for shadows. I’ve been doing this a lot in the class exercises I’ve been showing the past few weeks, but it’s not always obvious because so many colors are blended together. It’s not a new concept to me – in every book I’ve read about painting and watercolor, the color wheel is shown, and invariably the author discusses how a palette can be made more complex and yet cohesive by using complements. But understanding it and doing it are very different things!
The limited primary palette I started experimenting with even before taking the class has helped me tiptoe in that area, too. I’m not at the point yet where bananas are blue, but I tried this still life using only three primary pencils plus a complementary purple for shading. I have to admit that the addition of purple makes this simple still life richer.
Frankly, I’m not intending to make blue bananas – that’s moving more into the world of imaginative or abstract work that I’m not ready for! – but color is a wide realm within the range of what the brain accepts as believable and “real.” I want to be bolder about poking around in that range!