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Lessons From the Canvas

Updated: Aug 26, 2020

When I paint there are always different things to consider so let's talk a little bit about technique today. What are some of the important things to do when you're working on a painting. Number one is to focus.

To this end, we can use the concept of naming something and then claiming it. So in other words if you are stuck in an area, look at the area and ask yourself what is going on there. Is it reflected light that you are trying to paint or perhaps it's warm against cool and you have your temperatures back to front. So here are some different things to think about and decide whether the problem area falls into one of these categories. Using the name it and claim it technique you have identified what the problem is. The fact is you can't fix a problem until you know exactly what it is, so here are some reference points:

Colour surprise: In every painting you should have some heightened points of colour which will bring it to life. To make this work there needs to be an absence of strong colour in some of the other areas.

Note, in the above painting, how there is a bright Cadmium Red acting as a highlight against the darker Alizarin Crimson and you also here have the complementary of the dark green leaves as well.

Local colour analysis: This means that you have one colour in the painting that acts like the mother colour to all the others. A painting which features a Cerulean sky would have this colour turn up in small amounts in other places, perhaps in the hills, boats on the water etc. And or you can mix small amounts of that colour into your other colours.

In this painting you can see the turquoise colour in both the water and the sky.

Colour intensity control: To create excitement in the work, you can place colours of the same intensity next to one another. What this does is make the colours vibrate with each other. They can be painted to create an even greater effect by using complementary colours i.e. yellow and purple, red and green, or blue and orange.

In some areas of this work you can see the reds and greens, complementary colours of the same intensity, working to create a dynamic colour contrast and alive composition.

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