PDA

View Full Version : Color Schemes and Harmonies


Scarefishcrow
03-06-2008, 11:47 PM
I asked this question in the Landscape class and got one viewpoint from Wendy, but I would like to hear from some others regarding how to approach decisions on color schemes or harmonies that are discussed entensively among the works on paint media.

I've read quite a bit about color theory, temperature, etc. I have a geneeral understanding of the concepts behind the more common color schemes such at complementary, split complement, triadic, analogous, etc.

However, I see little discussion (or have missed it perhaps) of these in relation to OP works. Do you select particular "pallettes" of OPs and use those to achieve color harmony or it is more of an internalized process with OP due to the fact that mixing is not as easy and you have large numbers of various tonal variants of particular hues?

Do you think in terms of traditional color harmonies, or do you simply reach for, instinctually, the OP color you think you need?

I hope this is not too dumb a question, but I'm trying to figure out how experience OP artists arrive at their decisions about colors to use in a work. And how do you deal with the conversions of value information into color choices.

I hope this makes some sense to someone. Thanks for any advice you may have.

:music: :heart: :music:
Bill

Pat Isaac
03-07-2008, 08:29 AM
I can give you my answer, but it will have to wait until later as I have to dash out. Interesting question and no question is dumb...:rolleyes:
Be back.

Pat

Scarefishcrow
03-07-2008, 11:35 AM
I can give you my answer, but it will have to wait until later as I have to dash out. Interesting question and no question is dumb...:rolleyes:
Be back.

Pat

Thanks Pat--I know this a busy time for you so take care of the critical things. This is a question that is one I just wanted to get thoughts from others on.

Keep well and don't let us overburden you!! Without Jane's marvelous contributions as guide, I know your workload will be much greater. Hopefully, we all understand that and hopefully you will try to keep some balance with all you are doing!!

:clap: :thumbsup: :wave:
:music: :heart: :music:
Bill

Pat Isaac
03-07-2008, 02:01 PM
I guess I tend to think of the color, especially when I set up a still life. I don't necessarily decide on the color scheme first, but if I was doing a painting of oranges like the one in this thread http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=257922 I tend to make the rest of the objects relate. I decide what I want to paint and then make the rest of the objects relate.
For other types of paintings I guess I just try to make sure that the color all works together i.e. having some of the colors carry through the whole painting.
What I'm trying to say is that I don't sit down and consciously think of a color scheme. As I work I am aware of carrying the color through the painting.
Make sense?

Pat

Scarefishcrow
03-07-2008, 02:15 PM
Yes, I think it does, Pat. Ant that is somewhat similar to the answer Wendy gave. I think traditional color schemes are harder to relate to OP because we are not really "mixing" our colors from a limited pallette (although that is another thread and worth exploring). However, I think what you are saying is that familiarity with color theory and knowlege of the relationships of colors, vis a vis the color wheel, is fundamental to approaching painting in any medium. With OP (and soft pastel) it is almost more of a challenge because we must select from a fixed set of prepared colors and do not have as much freedom as the artists working in a medium that allows an almost infinite variety of subtle mixtures on the pallete. In a sense, OP or soft Pastel, by its very nature is working with a limited pallete. The nice thing about the large set of Holbeins that I like is that they are arranged both by hue family as well as value ranges within that particular hue. In a way their arrangement seems to make more intuitive sense to me since generally we know we want a, say, reddish purple, but need to find one of the proper value.

IMHO, pastelist must internalize the concepts of color schemes and work with them on an almost intuitive basis. I once read an article about a pastel artist giving demonstration and someone in the audience asked the question "Why did you choose that color?" at a particular passage in the work. The pastelist was described as looking a bit perplexed and responded, "What other color could you use??".

Do I read you correctly?

:music: :heart: :music:
Bill

Scarefishcrow
03-07-2008, 02:27 PM
Oh Pat--I just went to the thread and that is one of the most beautiful still life paintings I've seen in a long time. The colors work together. It seems to be based on something like a complementary scheme with the purplish background making the orange-yellow fruit explode from the support. And the burnished appearance of the pail is beautifully rendered as is the diagonally gradated background that seems to balance the compositional weight toward the right. The green of the plant complements the red in the table. (So maybe more like a "split complement"?

Whatever it is, it works:clap: :thumbsup: :cool:

:music: :heart: :music:

Pat Isaac
03-07-2008, 02:40 PM
Thanks, Bill. I do know sometimes I get frustrated because I can't find the right color, then I do mix the colors until I get what I want. However, it is much easier with oil paint. I suppose if I analyzed it I could answer "Why did you choose that color?", but I don't tend to do that....
I do know that often I end up with a complementary color scheme, but not really thinking about it beforehand....

Pat

Paulafv
03-08-2008, 08:58 PM
I think oil pastels are easier to mix for a particular color than are soft pastels. One of the ways of mixing either is to put the colors you want to mix side by side, closely to fool the eye. That is why so many old pastel paintings are cross hatched or in lines or short pointillism marks.

Don't we all go for the color we think matches what we are painting, then go for the next color we think will go best with it (even though it may not be the actual color we see)? Artistic license means you can make a wan beach scene sunny by the use of your colors, or you can add or subtract a tree or light pole to suit your fancy. You are the artist. It is up to you what you choose to paint and how. Doesn't matter the medium.

Paula

Scarefishcrow
03-09-2008, 12:00 AM
Paula- Thanks for your viewpoint. I guess I was curious if it was just my inexperience that leads me to work somewhat intuitively with color selection. Obviously understanding aspects of color theory helps us decide what will likely look good together. However, you are right in that there are really no rules, just guidlines. Wendell once pointed out that "mud" to someone might be exactly the muted color someone else need's to express a particular passage.

And yes, I like, personally, to use unblended strokes an sometimes what might be called a "feathering" approach to devleop certain passages.

Thanks for your comments. I didn't really ask the question expecting a right or wrong way, just trying to get an idea of how different OP artists view color selection; from some structured approach or more intuitively. I like to get different viewpoints on how to approach things. I often find it fascinating that some things not appealing in one person's critique may be of no concern or even what is found attractive in someone else's critique.

Again Thanks for the views.

:music: :heart: :music:

Peiwend
03-09-2008, 01:10 PM
Bill, I've been meaning to reply for a few days. We had an ice storm last night and the power went out. Then it came on again and I wrote a long reply but before I could click on post reply the power went out again and all was lost. I'll reply later when hopefully all is back to normal.

__________________________Wendell

Scarefishcrow
03-09-2008, 04:36 PM
Bill, I've been meaning to reply for a few days. We had an ice storm last night and the power went out. Then it came on again and I wrote a long reply but before I could click on post reply the power went out again and all was lost. I'll reply later when hopefully all is back to normal.

__________________________Wendell

Wendell--I understand completely. In fact I just was finishing a long reply and (as I have done several times) hit the wrong button and changed pages losing all my text. I'm starting to get in the habit of editing my posts initially in Notepad and cutting them and pasting them into the reply box to I don't lose it.

I look forward to your reply, but know you are busy. I just thought this was an interesting area I haven't seen discussed and wanted to get viewpoints on it from folks like you.

Thanks for all the great info you supply. Unlike me you are able to say much with little text, while I just am compelled to expound, often beyond what is needed (like right now), but that's me and sometimes it is as much written to help me codify my thoughts as it is to put forth a simple point. I think you probably, as much as anyone, understand and appreciate this fact.

Boy, you have a lot of storms and power outages. I though we had bad weather. Maybe you should invest in a cheap Uninterruptible Power Supply to give you a few minutes to save things!!

BTW, thanks for the thoughts on where our EGPS are probably stuck. Glad then sent them "Expedited US" or no telling how long they might take to get! Does the same thing happen with personal mail between the two countries?? Perhaps it might be easier to pay you to order them and send them:lol: :lol: :lol: .

Keep warm. That's what the "HOGS" are for!!!

:lol:
Bill
:music: :heart: :music:

Peiwend
03-09-2008, 10:18 PM
Bill, I think that colour schemes and harmonies along with composition and colour mixing are things that you need to learn really well. Then, for several years, you have to consciously apply what you have learned. Eventually it starts to move to the back of your mind. Instinct and intuition based on what you learned starts to take over. Then you can sometimes break the "rules" knowing that the painting will work. A painting that follows all the rules can be obvious and boring (It's usually referred to as academic art - no offense meant.). You can then use imagination and creativity without getting bogged down slavishly following the rules.

I hope some of this is understandable.

Surrounded by sniffer dogs and x-ray machines, the customs people are probably scratching their heads around a big table on which are sitting your "pastels extra - gras". They cannot figure out under which numerical or alphabetical classification they belong.

_________________________________Wendell

Scarefishcrow
03-10-2008, 03:24 AM
Academically, no offense taken.

Yes, what you say makes sense. It is what I think I've been trying to get at; that more experienced artists have internalized these concepts of color theory and harmony and it becomes a subconscious process of knowing what will work, whether you consciously think, "Ah, this requires a Split Complement or Triadic color scheme." The schemes are there, they are just second nature to the experience artist.

This is why I have tried to read and learn about color theory, color relationships, harmonies, etc. I do think it is easier to absorb when you are dealing with something like paints where you have to physically go through the process of mixing colors and seeing the results. With pastel, this seems to be less obvious since we try to have as many premixed tones and values of colors because it is not so easy to physically mix them.

Now, does that make sense to you??


Thanks for the uplifting assessment of Pat and my chances of seeing EGOP's during our lifetime!!!!!

:p :p

Bill
:music: :heart: :music:

Pat Isaac
03-10-2008, 07:14 AM
I wonder what the chances really are........I could have gone to Canada and back by now........
I hope your storms are over for awhile, Wendell.

Pat