Saturday, August 21, 2010

Color Studies

Reverence for the Dawn
After the sketch many painters do studies or color sketches. These color studies can go anywhere from a few splashes of paint on a scrap piece to canvas to blocking out of colors on a small version of the sketch to small finished paintings of the projected bigger piece.

When I was beginning work on the above painting: Reverence for the Dawn whose finished size is 26 by 62 I did two smaller paintings which were 10 by 24. These smaller studies were the same proportions as the proposed finished painting being done as a commission. And in addition to the benefit of making my mistakes on a much smaller scale it allowed me show the patron choices as to color.

Reverence - a study  
Worship - a study

I like the smaller painting approach for a couple of reasons: One, I take the painting more seriously and two, the finished color study is sellable in its own right. In fact Worship has already sold. BTW while Reverence was the chosen study for the larger painting I changed the color of red for the sky. Studies are just that - studies or tests.

My normal color studies tend to the splashes of paint on scraps of canvas as when I was preparing to do the triptych below.

Tres Cruces Triptych
 I pretty much knew what I was going to do with the churches because of years of painting them and having decided already on the direction of the source of light. What needed to be worked out was the transition of the sky from full sun to evening dusk. I did this on scrap strips of canvas I can never bring myself to toss away. They are too small for a painting but great for testing colors, blends of colors, new mixes. Not all colors play well together. And it is possible with a felt tip pen to make notes on these informal canvas swatch color studies. If I was truly organized I would paste them on a scrap of board and put them in a folder or loose leaf notebook for future reference.

1 comment:

  1. You know, you never cease to amaze me.

    It's very interesting to me that you do the same painting on a smaller scale. I'd have thought that would be difficult.


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