Saturday, February 6, 2016

Painting Grays in Color

 "Token"
16 x 16 inches, oil on canvas
$500

I use these white geometric objects in some of my workshop exercises, and lately they've infiltrated my home studio as well. Though I'm usually painting them in black and white while teaching, I also love exploring the spectrum of grays that occur when white objects are surrounded by colorful light. 

When approaching a gray - or the modeling of an object whose local color is white - I ask myself a series of questions. What's the value of the gray? What's its temperature? What colors in the environment are influencing its color? Often, to arrive at the gray I need, I'll start with one of these surrounding colors (like the purple in this painting), and neutralize it until it works on the white object.

Another way to "see" color in ambiguous areas, like grays, is to use a color isolator. Sometimes I'll just squint through a half-closed fist. 

 And here is the preparatory sketch for this painting, on canvas instead of the oil paper this time:

 "Flame (Black and White)"
12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

1 comment:

Cathy Liontas said...

Thanks, Sarah. It's always so helpful to see the steps you take and your thought process.