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Here you will find adventures in painting. . . . Victories, absolute defeats, frustrations, highs, lows, lessons learned, commentary and thoughts from me and other artists.

As an art instructor, I don't wish to hide the fact that I crash and burn often. I will always be learning. So, it all gets shown here . . .good and bad. Every painting we do counts in the learning and experience process. The failures actually are much better teachers than successes. Every piece made is a teacher. That's the fun of it: the challenge to learn.

SEARCH FOR A WORD IN THE BOX TO THE RIGHT: COLOR, VALUE, PERSPECTIVE, IDEAS, MUSE, PLEIN AIR. . .ETC . . . .YOU'LL FIND PLENTY OF PAINTINGS AND IDEAS AS A RESULT. hAVE FUN!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Setting Up Color



"Misty Brilliance"
oil on linen panel, 8" x 10"
Some days it pays to get up early. When it comes to painting, some days it pays to stay in bed. Or so it seems. Today was an excellent day!!
The title of this piece came after I had completed the piece. The process here was to set up the brilliance of the color. To play down value contrasts and surround the color with neutrals. It is the neutrals in a painting that make the saturated colors seem as though they are screaming . . . . . . . . .or at least singing.
Today as I pushed through this piece, I found myself paying special attention to diminishing values and contrast in depth. That threw the foreground out at the viewer and emphasized the subject . . . .my beloved ice plant and all its colors against the sandstone cliffs of the Santa Cruz County coastline. I learned more as I painted this piece . . . . .let the paint do the talking, not the details. Why does a painter have to relearn these simple lessons over and over and over and over???? I guess habit must take over eventually. Details and minutae do nothing to make a painting stand up and sing.
I can smell the air in this painting . . . . .I am smiling !!!!!

8 comments:

Frank Gardner said...

I like this piece a lot Mike. It has lots of those subtle neutrals you talk about setting up those blasts of ice plant.
The simple design works great here. Lots of depth, lots of color.

Mike said...

Thanks, Frank. sure been a while since we've bantered back and forth, eh?

Todd Bonita said...

Thanks for checking in Mike, good to hear from you..I've actually been by your blog surfing recently...top notch as usual my friend. Particularly your complex watercolor studio works, marvelous and courageous..good for you. I've been busy raising my son but still producing weekly. I'll be checking back.
All the best,
Todd

onpainting said...

Goo title for a good painting. I don't think the struggle ever gets easy or automatic.

Mike said...

Hey Todd . . .glad to see you are painting, too. Your stuff is always beyond the pale, that is for sure! Be Good! ;p)

Mike said...

Dear "onpainting" . . .You are probably right about the stuggle not ever getting easier. I have found that while we do grow to become better, we are always tasked with challenge so that we feel we have 'earned' our good paintings.

Edgar Payne once said, "Nature does not capriciously scatter her secrets as golden gifts to lazy poets and luxurious darlings, but imposes task when she presents opportunity."

I always knew that, I guess. Acres of canvas . . . .etc!

Frank Gardner said...

I LOVE that quote from the Edgar Payne book Mike. Thanks for posting it for those who have not read it.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

wow. that's a beautiful painting!
I read your intro and thought, "what a ballsy guy", for lack of a better word, of course. I only post the ones that pass muster.
What great comments here especially the ones regarding the struggle. Every time I paint it's a 'maybe'. When I get an 'absolutely', it feels as good as if it never happened before! Edgar Payne quote is great.