Recent paintings:

Author: gwendoline  |  Category: Oil Painting

This landscape is painted near George Town, in northern Tasmania.  I really enjoyed painting this landscape because of all the undulation in the land.  This painting was recently sold.

I just finished this painting of Tallin, Estonia.  It’s a delightful place which looks like alot of other medieval towns across Europe.  This painting sold this morning, still wet!

Colour combinations in your work…

Author: gwendoline  |  Category: Concepts, Oil Painting, Pastel Painting, Watercolour

Some artists have a natural flair to get the colour combinations looking right in their work, others need knowledge and theory to aid them in their decisions.  The insight of colour theory alone, may not be enough to make your paintings exciting.  Intuition of which colours to put together can often override all the knowledge available to an artist….”it just felt right to put that colour there”. 

Colour has been used in paintings throughout the ages in various ways, for many purposes.  The Renaissance painters built up layers of colours with glazes, giving them luminousity and depth.  The Romantic movement around the 18th century applied colour to create mood.  The Neo-Impressionists placed pure colours in dots, which then became mingled in the eyes of the viewer.  The Impressionists used colour to study light and its effects in landscape, and the Expressionists used colour for its expressional values…etc.

Once you have your composition in mind, the next thought should be, what mood you hope to create in your work.  Colour therefore, must become the next process in your thought pattern.  If you start a work without this concept, it will most likely fail.  Colours have dimension and suggestion of directionality.  Colour can be light/dark and at the same time be warm/cool.

When talking about colour harmony, we are relating to the effect of two or more colours.  Everyone will judge harmony differently.  These judgements are personal preferences, without the theory.  Every day we select colour, to dress ourselves, decorate our homes, plant flowers in our gardens.  What pleases one person, will not necessarily please another, hence we differ in our attitudes. 

 Individual subjective opinion of what appears harmonious can be referred to as ‘subjective colour’.  Subjective colour may reveal character, mode of thought or feelings.  The amount of space allocated to each colour patch would also be a preference.  Colour preferences can be imitated from looking at like-minded subjects of past painters, and  alot of students will compose in the manner of their teachers.  Other artists have seen the colours from the experience of the subject they are about to paint and another group of painters may compose colours according to the subject to be developed, referring to their colour theories.

Light tones on a black ground will advance according to their degree of brilliance.  On a white ground, the effect is reversed, light tones are held to the plane of the background and shades from grey to black are pulled forward to varying planes in the foreground.  We also must remember that warm colours will advance and cold colours will receed.  The saturation of the colour or its pureness can also have an effect  on its depth in the picture plane.  The more brilliant the colour, the more it too will advance.

Based on the 12 hue colour wheel, complementary colours are opposite each other, these are called dyads…..red/green, blue/orange, yellow/violet etc.  

  If you select three colours from the colour circle which form an equilateral triangle, those hues form a harmonious triad, ie.yellow/red/blue, orange/violet/green etc.   If you replace one of the complementary colours in a dyad eg. blue/orange by its two neighbours the result would be a triad (sometimes referred to as a split complementary)  blue/yellow orange/red orange. 

  Two pairs of complementary colours which form a square eg. blue green/red orange  and  yellow/violet, would be called a tetrad.  Tetrads can also be obtained by making a rectangle on the colour wheel eg. yellow green/ red violet and yellow orange / blue violet.

All of the above combinations lead to harmony as they contain opposites which have a warm/cold relationship.  One of these should be dominating in the painting, rather than equal semblance.

Each colour has its own trait and these traits should be considered when trying to consider a mood.  Often these traits do not need to be learned but are instinctive to each of us.    Yellow = sunshine/light,    Red = warmth,   Blue = Cold,  Green = vegetation/tranquility,   Orange = energy/radiance,   Violet  = delicate/calm

The science of colour and its effect when one colour is placed against an opposing colour or black or white  in various sizes is quite interesting and is another whole chapter. 

Dont forget to use your intuition in your work with a knowledge of the above to guide you.