Thursday, May 27, 2010

color inspiration of the season

There is so much exquisite color going on outside in my mom's garden right now. These ickle little photos from my outdated digital camera cannot do it justice. They must be painted, and in oil. How might I achieve these sublime colors?

This iris, in real life, has the most beautiful soft, mauve-orange. I don't believe I have ever mixed such a thing. If I were to attempt it, I think this is how I would start:

I never use purple out of a tube in my palette. It doesn't work for me. To accomplish the hue in this iris I believe I would begin by mixing a red-purple of my own, from alizarin crimson and ultramarine. Then I would mix its compliment, a desaturated orange, from yellow ochre and burnt sienna. I would tone the purple with the desaturated orange, then add white until it was the appropriate value. I would maintain separate piles of similar, but purple leaning and orange leaning versions to paint with.

this iris is especially lovely. As most of you well know, my favorite color is burgundy. The color of red wine. This iris appears to be a warmer variant of burgundy. I believe this color could be achieved through a 50/50 blend of alizarin crimson and burnt sienna. I might add a skosh of indigo or ultramarine to cool it down, and then a wee bit of white to bring the value up. Also important to note, that if I were to paint this Iris, that spot of yellow would be crucial. Color is always, at the end of the day, a game of opposites. It is the yellow that plays opposition that really makes the warm burgundy sing.

Copper-colored ferns. Terrible photo. I apologize for that.

This one is marginally better:

For this I would start by busting out the really expensive, poisonous shit: cadmium red. The cad red would be toned down with sap green until it reached that near neautral copper look, then add white to bring it up. A thought on possible experimentation: the green, when it shines through, appears to be yellower than my sap green straight out the tube. I do happen to have a tube of GOLD (which I love) and I might throw a spot of that into this as well.

Ah yes. The Japanese Painted Fern. WHAT ARE YOU??? This plant has qualities of violet and mint green. The violet appears to be a red leaning purple that has been massively desaturated but kept at low key value. The mint green would probably start out coming from that tube of Viridian green that I despise and almost never use. It would be toned (but with what!?!?) and have a lot of white added to it. I observed a strange phenomenon in mixing color long ago that I had never seen a use for until now. In color theory, we are taught that mixing compliments produces neutrals. Red and green are eachothers compliments. Once, when I tried to tone down alizarin crimson with some of that viridian green that I despise and almost never use, the result was not a neutral, but a curious purple. THAT CURIOUS PURPLE COULD BE PERFECT FOR THIS FERN!

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