Sunday, June 13, 2010

Throwing Out the Recipe

After seeing the Landscapes of the Impressionists exhibit at Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha last weekend, I'm really inspired to look more deeply at those things I thought I knew. 

Most noticeably, I'm seeing greens differently.  Where before I would use my "recipe" to make my greens, (a little blue and yellow, more yellow, more blue, a touch of orange...) I'm considering more thoughtfully just what it is that's in front of me. An elm tree is an entirely different green than a cottonwood, which is altogether different than a maple. Each catches and reflects light differently. The challenge is to know which blue and which yellow and which orange to select for each green. For every type of plant life, and there are jillions, there is a sunlit side and a shadow side, a whole new combination of hues to evaluate. Unless it's cloudy, which is a whole 'nuther set of greens. Then there's distance to account for . . . 

Whew, I think I made myself dizzy.

@2010 Sovereign Patricia Scarborough 9x12

Another observation:  there seems to be an abundance of lavender  in tree limbs.  Honestly, check it out for yourself.  And a grey green as well.  The other day I drove myself crazy trying to follow a tree trunk that started out quite light near the ground, and ended up quite dark as it reached into the sky.  Same trunk, different context - what color?

I'm overwhelmed.  In a good way.  I'm excited to tackle the question of how to express just what I see.  It'll be  a huge challenge to stow away those automatic, muscle memory paint mixing responses and pause to consider other ways of dealing with a lavender-ish green-y sunlit kind of hue that I used to read as 'green'.

What did you see today that surprised you?


Katherine Thomas said...

I love this post because it is exactly what I have been thinking about lately! I've been realizing that I don't need to use the true, traditional colors of an object or a reference photo. I can use colors that create the mood instead. Or I can layer colors in ways that I would never expect. It's overwhelming and confusing to know what colors to put down, but the possibilities are thrilling! Your work is beautiful.

Patricia said...

Katherine, thanks for stopping by, and thankyew very much for your kind comment.
While it's necessary to start with a solid formula, it's also important to throw caution to the wind and juggle our painting habits around now and then. It's not like we'll cause a bruise or anything!

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Ooo, this is interesting! I was just traveling with a friend from southern California, and we were talking about how "green" is different in different parts of the country... she remarked that as a kid she'd been mystified by the Crayola-crayon green, because it didn't match any actual green she'd ever seen. (and then she came to the Midwest with its freshly watered lawns, and it made more sense.) SoCal greens have greyish undertones; Pacific Northwest greens are more mixed with blue; around here there's a more orangey tint.

Patricia said...

Who'da thunk? thanks for chiming in P/H

Earthula said...

wonder full

what would that color be called? she asks from sitting under the chair.

It is mesmerizing. Then they change with the sunlight.
Hours of entertainment, hmmmm?

Karine said...

Today I was inspired by a little side-botched lizard and the surprisingly aqua spots running down the length of its back.

The world is an amazing place.

Patricia said...

Fascinating. What purpose do you suppose those aqua colored spots serve? You see the most amazing things, Karine.