Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nature's Grays

While painting have you ever wondered why you can't find that perfect green? 
I did...

Before I came to France I thought that if I simply squeezed a blob of yellow and a blob of blue paint onto a surface and mixed them together they would turn out to be a perfect replica of natures greens, however there are no "perfect" colors in nature. All colors are a combination of all the colors. For example the color green:

It is not complete until you add its complementary color red:

By combine a color with its complement, you are mixing together all the primary colors (Green=Blue and Yellow; Red). When you start to realize that all colors are present in every color, it opens up your mind to see so many naturally occurring complements. For example shadows are not merely gray and black they are shades of red and violet against the Yellow/green of the leaves. Complements are found every where in nature.

So make this your challenge. Look around at the colors you see in nature. Notice how the red brick buildings make the green trees pop out beside them. If you paint, try to experiment with adding the complement or as Van Gogh would say "breaking the colors." You will then realise that in every thing there is present a mélange of the colors or the grays of nature.


Earl Grey said...

Leah, this is an insightful post for a few reasons. First, it's been so utterly dry here that the air is a bowl of dust and the ground is brown. As I write this, however, we're getting our first hard rain in weeks. So that may change the way the colors in the Bluegrass look tomorrow.

Second, I appreciate your reflection on color -- something that seems so simple to discuss. But it really is quite complex. I think what you've mentioned in your post can certainly apply to all student artists -- painters or not!

Thanks for sharing your photos. Keep documenting your color process. Take a peek, also, at this design site:

Boris Zakic said...

Nice to see the work in open air: being there, in nature, clear sky and with plenty "broken into" green. The third image (the "peak") reminded me Cezanne-like texts, of hues and pictorial re-discovery, but your grin says it best: sponge up every moment! Look forward to future posts--