Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Color It

This is perhaps the scariest part of painting. The first few layers of paint can sometimes be discouraging, colors appear matte, flat and at times muddy. Every painting has to start somewhere, and the great thing about painting is that the start is alwasy messy, but from all the comotion of good and bad choices one arrives at clarity. I was reading the notes of another painter whom I admire, Tad Spurgeon. I am always intrigued by his process and his knowledge of materials. Somewhere along I read that it's best to mix colors on the surface of the painting itself, instead of doing it on the palette. 

"I am also making this more with the technique Hoogstraten outlined of not mixing color on the palette, but allowing the tones to mix on the painting. This is a bit jarring at first but keeps everything brighter with this low chroma palette and results in small zippy color fragments being left underneath."

I took my cue and started applying colors on the canvas and mixing them in as I went along. At first everythig was bright and crude, but as I added more color some nice combinations started happening. This is when the scary part comes to a halt and possibilities arrise. This is the part when ideas come, and since it's very early in the process they can all be tested. For now I have a general idea of where this painting might go, but who knows, things can always go in different directions.  My observations so far of this new approach is that it helps keep the paint loose, which will be beneficial at the end in keeping a painterly feel.  

4 comments:

Paula said...

I often mix the colors on the painting. I thought I was just being an "untrained" artist and said to myself, "what the hell". HA !

Luis Colan said...

Hi Paula, how are you? There are many different approaches to painting, I guess it all depends on the artist's needs and preferences. De Kooning used to work wet on wet, which means he was mixing his colors on the canvas as well.

Mauricio said...

Luis, cuanto tiempo.

Me gust� mucho tu visita por all� y veo que tus obras continuan maravillosas.

Cuidate y no vemos, combinado?

ming said...

I have actually never tried mixing colours on a canvas, it's something i'll look to try when I get back into the studio on monday.

I think this piece looks great, the composition is priceless, and the precarious position of the knife, is a perfect 'anti-thesis' to your very soft and fine method of painting.

looking forward to seeing how this turns out. and loving the commentry:)