Art Series Explores Abstract Color

The fourth in this series explores unrealistic color for the high energy notan sketch that sparked these four paintings.

Non conventional color often becomes gaudy or garish for me. My challenge is always to explore how and if I can make it work. Parts of the above I think work well. I particularily like the left half of the work more than the trees. The second stage of this painting, image below, I like more than the finished. Because I am experimenting with shapes, curves and color, I think the image below has both abstraction of color and of the landscape itself.

My issue with the lower image is how the saturated orange wants to come forward rather than recede. I had two choices, to change the color in front of the orange so the orange would receded, or change the orange to become a different value and recede -- I chose the latter.

This C-curve design has very diagonal elements to it and therefore is using both designs, the C and diagonal to move the eye -- the color in the final version is a third design element that Hans Hoffman called the push pull.

Wolf Kahn Color Picks and Pastel Book

My color choices for this came after reading Wolf Kahn s book on his pastels. The book is a wonderful read for artists. It contains not only his struggles to interpret what he saw into pastel, but how the pastels in the book related to his beliefs as an artist. The book has 1-2 page snippets on maybe 50 different subjects of art.

One page discussed the use of Magenta. How, unless it is in a sunset, magenta is not a color found easily in nature. That by using magenta with oranges, blues and thalo greens, it usually forces the artist to create abstracted colored landscapes and rely on values to create the sense of space. I can attest: it did just that for me too.

The above is the first stage of the notan blocked in using the magenta then taking the other colors over it to tone it down. I think that was a mistake. In the Kahn drawings, magenta has a very pronounced role, mine did not. I am no Wolf Kahn.

What I learned

  • This painting worked better the more abstract and less detail it had, as in stage 2

  • For me, to use magenta and have it work, the design and subject had to be different than this one

  • Magenta needs to play a larger role in what I paint than how I used it here

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