We just got back from Ireland. I am full of images of Irish color, cliffs, water, trees and too many other sights to name. I just soaked it all in. Although I didn’t take my paints, one of the things on which I concentrated was color. It was indeed so green. They were vivid, intense greens.
I have a tendency to paint with a more muted palette, so I am not sure yet how I will translate these images onto the canvas. I plan to start trying this week.
If I was still at a place where I wanted to paint landscape, Ireland was the place to see. But I am an abstract landscape painter, so it is all a mystery to me at this time because I haven’t started to think about mixing paint. There is still a part of me that is processing all that I experienced there.
Irish Yellow Green
Ireland was magical and spiritual for me. Part of the reason that I found it so compelling was the beauty, but since we visited many megalithic sites, I was captivated by the mysteries of how and where people lived and expressed their creativity 5-6 thousand years ago.
Ireland is also being overwhelmed with invasive rhododendrons. Since they are so lovely, people don’t seem to mind these invaders.
So you may be able to tell that I have no idea what I will paint when I am completely back from Ireland.
I have been frequently thinking about color recently because of the beginning painting class that I am teaching, questions people ask me about color and about how I use color in my own paintings. I love color and particular color combinations. Even after almost 15 years of painting, I consult my color wheel before I start a painting and sometimes while I am in the process of painting.
Basic color wheel
When I paint, I prefer to use pairs or sets of complementary colors. Sometimes people mistake the work “complement” with the word “compliment” thinking that complementary means that the colors that go well together. Complementary colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are considered to be complementary colors (example: red and green). Complementary colors, when used together in color schemes, are especially dynamic and pleasing to the eye. The painting Mist is an example of using the complement of blue which is orange.
Mist, acrylic on canvas, 24×24-inches, 2011. ©Ann Hart Marquis
Color Intensity-Craig Kunce
The high contrast of complementary colors creates a vibrant look especially when used right out of the tube. I rarely use paints without decreasing their intensity or brightness, by adding a little black to the color or by adding the color’s complement. The above chart created by Craig Kunce is an example of how colors can be lessened in intensity.
In this painting from my new series I used pairs of double complements: red/violet, yellow/green and blue/orange. An example of lessening the intensity of a color or “graying it down” is the very pale yellow-green in the back hillside that was created by mixing yellow, white and black. It has no green in it.
Untitled 1, acrylic on canvas, 24×34-inches, 2014. ©Ann Hart Marquis
Do you have particular color combinations that appeal to you?