Tuesday, May 20, 2014
On this last one I cheated - the rules are don't trace your reference and don't color pick from it. I color picked, and look how much stronger it is than all the ones around it. Seeing it surrounded by all those pale pastel pictures set off the alarms - suddenly for the first time I realized how weak my colors and color values have been. And all because I broke the stupid rule! I remember wondering why you're not supposed to color pick way back in the beginning - a part of me rebelled against it immediately - I mean I understand it's good to force yourself to develop your color sense, but I thought it would be good practice to also sometimes pick right from an image, so you've got something to test your choices against. You need to test them against reality so you can see how well you're doing, otherwise you'll just keep right on making the same mistakes indefinitely.
If there's one thing I'm learning as I get older, it's to trust my instincts, especially when conventional wisdom rules against them.
Oh, and I also went against conventional wisdom by not using any cool colors to balance out all the warms. Unless you consider the grays cool, which some people do. Hell, maybe that's what makes it work, I don't know, but whatever the case, it does seem to work. Or maybe in the past I was just too heavy-handed and literal about it? That's entirely possible, especially considering I'm pretty new to working with color, at least in a medium that I can do anything with.
I now understand my older paintings not only fell short in the light values department, but also the darks! I guess it was a very restricted value range, and I also seemed to sabotage my color saturation - it seems like I only let middle values be saturated and squelched it out toward darks and light, greying them down for that pastel look. Here at last I put in some color strength, even in darks and lights.
Ah, the things you can learn by simply breaking the rules!