Thursday, May 08, 2008


Today I felt like experimenting a little - I needed to loosen up and try some new things. I think painting from photos and trying to be "representational" often makes me tighter and too real with my color choices. Today I had fun and loosened up. And I can't tell you how much fun I had! I should paint this way all the time! Instead of copying a scene, I created different moods and interpreted.

I chose a photo of two cowboys from a rodeo we stopped at in Bertram. It has a nice contrast of shadow and light with lots of fun highlights. I massed everything together basically and then just added a midtone here and there.
I tried different color schemes and its interesting to see how the mood changes with each.

The first one I wanted to do in 'hot' colors. All warm reds and yellows. A wonderful reference for work that looks like you're in the blazing sun is John Asaro's book "A New Romanticism" (btw - I have his book and didn't realize it was so valuable$ now!)

Next, I approached it with a cool palette and it almost has a feeling of a night scene under moonlight. One regret.... I put his hands in with a red. I got too literal. Painted what was there rather than what should have been there.

Next, I chose to paint the scene with complements. First, purple and yellow. Obviously not direct complements. The yellow turned out more towards the green side.

And red and green. I like this combination a lot for this scene/subject.

Finally - I wanted to try to paint in a higher "key". Everything I do generally has the full value range from 10 (black) to 1 (white). This time I wanted to try something very light. And this is my favorite.

All of these took a short time. They are on linen scraps and I painted them with washes and really massed everything together first, then went back in to model the forms. I can see doing this with cafe scenes very successfully.

What a great exercise. I feel renewed!


ckayser said...

LOVE them all, Robin! Way to go! Keep a looseness is always my challenge, too.

I haven't gotten to paint much in a month! Off to Carmel, CA for a great encaustic painting workshop with Carole all next week. Yea!


Dar Presto said...

this was a great exercise. I like the hot one best, as it and the cool one feel the most complete. I can see that your ability to discern value is at the heart of all your fantastic work. I always like peeking in!

Roxanne Steed said...

Yeah, I love John Asaro's book & his work, too - wow - this was a great exercise & impressive too! Great to see this!!!!

Candy Barr said...

Wonderful series Robin.. really informative to show the emotional charge using different temperatures of color.

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