Spring is blooming in North Carolina and I have enjoyed playing with color in a series of impressionist paintings.
I love color and taking time mix colors and build layers upon layer of color.
If you take time to study nature – you’ll notice how the subtle colors of grass against clay and rock is real life impressionism.
As an artist I encourage you to not be boxed in by one style – you can find a style you love and lean into it – but don’t be afraid to try something new or paint in multiple styles depending on your painting mood. I love impressionism and the spring colors have me playing homage to Monet and fauvism (Matisse) – but I also enjoy taking time to learn how to build deep realistic paintings.
Whether I’m focusing on creating a realistic interpretation or impressionism/abstract style – I always lean into value.
Value defines how light or dark a given color or hue can be. Values are best understood when visualized as a scale or gradient, from dark to light. The more tonal variants in an image, the lower the contrast. When shades of similar value are used together, they also create a low contrast image
Value is all around us – and I encourage you to observe and take notice of different contrasts of light and dark and how colors appear in nature. Sometimes I paint something that seems counterintuitive to what I would assume because the reference photo has a different value. ex: I know the mountains are grey and green – but they appear blue so I paint a cool blue based on the value and representation of color in the photo.
Once you start studying value – you are also able to ‘auto-correct’ as needed based on the science of value. Ex: establishing where your light source is helps you to identify hw to build shadow and contrast in the image.
Ricky Allman does a great job explaining value and painting to value in his Great Courses class. You can sign up for a trial and He is AMAZING.
I always try to paint to the value – whether I’m being ‘wonky’ and colorful with impressionism or painting realistically because it helps to establish cohesive and attractive paintings/art.