|11/8/23 Maple Leaf neighborhood|
I thought about this as I sketched this quiet neighborhood scene and wondered what would happen if I used the same magenta on the shadow side of the tall conifer that I used for the small Japanese maple at its base. The result wasn’t what I expected, but the attempt reflects some other thinking I’ve been doing since viewing a brain-exploding video:
Ian Roberts, the oil painter, instructor and author of Mastering Composition, explains a concept in this YouTube that I have been trying to do intuitively (for example, using dark purple for shadows as I often do lately) but haven’t really understood what I was attempting. As long as the values and intensity of a painting remain true, he says, the hues can be changed radically, and the painting will still “read” correctly. It all made so much sense when I heard him explain this. It was also gratifying to hear him articulate what I have been trying to grasp without really understanding intellectually – and now I do.
For a while now, I’ve been trying to avoid being such a slave to literal hues. Some artists express color with so much freedom that it’s obvious that they don’t have to actually see green skies or blue trees to sketch them that way. It’s much harder for me to be expressive with color, but I’d like to be able to use unexpected hues and still have my sketches (or paintings) make sense. This also aligns with my interest in learning to use color temperature: If the temperature makes visual sense, the colors used don’t have to be “real.”
Although this neighborhood sketch is not a successful example of the concept Roberts talks about, my brain is buzzing with it. You can bet I’ll be thinking more consciously about the concept going forward.