Tuesday, 20 March 2012

An Un-Scientific Experiment


Today's post features me conducting a terribly un-scientific experiment with layering colour using my trusty pastels.


Red and green (doesn't always) make brown.



I read about this idea of layering colours in paintings to try and create a rich, luminous effect and it sounded simple enough that even I would be able to try it. (I like simple.)  Basically, the idea is that you under-paint your picture using the opposite colour of the intended colour you want to use on top.

I wasn't completely convinced about this idea and worried my attempts might turn into to a brown, muddy mess. I continued to feel that way until I suddenly had a light-bulb moment of inspiration and thought to myself "Well if my painting is going to turn into mud, I may as well paint a water-lily.  They *love* mud!" (See, there is a warped logic in my madness.)  I then pulled out my Conte and Art Spectrum pastels and set about creating a water-lily, using the following approach.


1.  First, I under-painted the water-lily using the opposite of the colours I wanted on top.

I found it kinda fun!

To work out what would be the colour to use on this layer, I used the three primary colours - red, blue and yellow as my starting point. The opposite colour is the combination of the two other colours, so the opposite of blue would be orange, the opposite of purple would be yellow etc.

Here is the finished under-painting:

2.  After I'd finished my under-layer, I went about painting over the top with the correct colours.

Results: Look up at the top water-lily painting, you can see it there.

(Now since I'm doing a terribly un-scientific experiment, I guess I'd better come up with a Conclusion.  Here goes...)


My painting has ultimately worked.  I believe I have proven that red and green does not always make brown.  Only sometimes.  I will happily confess that I struggled with layering the pastel and the flower isn't as delicate as I would have liked.  Still, I think I'd like to try this technique again sometime, as I do think it adds some depth to the painting.

Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by and seeing what I've been up to!

I'll see you all around later in the week,


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