Thursday, October 02, 2008

Black Eyed Susans and The Best Books for Artists

Black Eyed Susans, 10x8, acrylic

$250,unframed, pay through Paypal, easy & safe w/ a credit card

Here's a fun, cheerful piece to round out the autumn. Yellow is such a happy color! This piece is from a year or two ago and is one I've always liked for its color and for the contemporary look the yellow background gives it. Speaking of color I've had a request to recommend some good books on color for artists. A new book that I just recently bought and like a lot is Power Color by Caroline Jaspers and Betty Edwards(Drawing on the Rightside of the Brain) also has a good book out on color. Unless you are really interested in the techincal/scientific aspects of color I'd stay away from the heavy weights of color theory like Itten, Munsell, Albers and get a few really good books that explain things in easy to understand terms, show you how to put it to use in a painting and have pratical exercises. You should actually DO the exercises with the colors and not just read about them in the book. Please don't feel like you're just wasting paint or playing around with these exercises they really are the best way to learn and see how color works and interacts. Here's a run down of some color terminology and basic theory.


local color= the color something actually is eg. and apple is red.

Color possesses 4 characteristics: hue(the actual color), value(how light or dark a hue is) and intensity(how dull or bright a color is) and temperature(warm or cool).

Primary Colors = colors that occur in nature and can;t be made by mixing other colors together. Red, Yellow, Blue

Secondary Colors= colors that are formed by mixing 2 primary colors. red+yellow=orange, blue+yellow=green, red+blue=purple

Tertiary Colors= colors created by mixing a primary and a secondary color, thereby creating a mixture of 3 hues 1 from the primary color and 2 from the secondary. Ex. red+purple=red-purple, created by mixing red + the blue and red in the purple, with the resultant color now leaning heavily in the direction of red, but with enough blue in it to still appear as a variation of purple.

Complementary Colors= colors opposite each other on the color wheel. Mixing complementary colors in equal amounts will create brown( sometimes also known a mud lol) Mixing complementary colors in unequal amounts creates beautiful subtle grays, and browns. Mixing a tiny bit of one complement into another will begin to take down the intensity of the color. this is especially helpful in achieving natural looking greens. In landscape work virtually every tube green and many mixes you create yourself using blue and yellow will need to be toned down with something from the red family.

Analogous Colors= 3-5 colors that are adjacent on the color wheel. These colors will mix to create harmonious pleasing color schemes in a painting. Today's painting, Black Eyed Susans, uses an analogous color scheme.

There is a LOT more information about color and a good book can be a real help. Over at Squidoo, I have an on-line bookstore set up called The Best Books for Artists, many of the books offered there are on my bookshelf in the studio, and I also use many of them when teaching as a textbook for the students. Other books there have been recommended to me by other artists. All the books listed are linked to and I get a small portion of the sale price through the affiliate program. There is a section devoted to color theory and the two books mentioned about Power Color and the Betty Edwards book are in that section. I'll also put a link to Best Books for Artists in the sidebar.

1 comment:

kjs said...

You're on the ball!!

I'm just now reading Vicki McMurry's new book Mastering Color. I'll keep these bookmarked because I need to soak up all the info I can get.