Saturday, February 7, 2009

This is a typical early morning scene along the Gulf of Mexico, with shell collectors, birds and a large ship, perhaps a tanker. I decided to use a very limited palette of colors in painting this. All of the colors you see were mixed from Cobalt Blue, White and various shades of cadmium (yellow, orange, red). Although it does not work with all subjects, I think it's fun to see what can be done with a small group of colors...and color harmony seems to be almost automatic when painting this way. The painting is 20" tall and 16" wide; I call it "The Treasure Hunters".

1 comment:

  1. I think the colors worked out very well. Just for fun I ran this through some composition criteria that I got from the Painter's Keys website (below). I think this hits all the points except for the inclusion of an eye-returning vertical that parenthesizes on the left.
    Robert Genn composition notes that he uses in jurying a painting competition:
    "They are meant to be guidelines. Coincidentally, there are eleven keys on any ordinary keyboard that are useful in understanding them: they are S, O, (), !, L, ?, ^, M, P, H and X.

    S is the famous old eye-control lead-in where the river meanders, the path winds, the road disappears.

    O is the circular imperative that keeps the viewer's eyes moving around within the work.

    () is the inclusion of eye-returning verticals that parenthesize on the left and right.

    ! is the long and the short of linear design. Exclamation brings excitement, finality and visual interest.

    L is the rectilinear lineup that gives compositional solidity. Objects sit on a secure ground.

    ? is the eternal question "What could be?" as well as "What is it?" and "What isn't it?"

    ^ is for softening near the edges. Equal focus bores the eye. Humans don't like to be bored.

    M is for mystery, paucity and lack of disclosure. A good composition doesn't need to tell the whole story.

    P is for patches. Patches trump lines. Better compositions are often an assembly of patches.

    H is for homeostasis. Overly regular, evenly spaced, mechanical interstices need to be scouted out and fixed.

    X is fraught with danger. While it's great to have a central confluence of interest--"X marks the spot"--it's also important to watch where any of those four legs might point or turn up. Watch the corners of your picture. Shooting the eye out of one of them can be bad news for you and good news for the painting next door."