Unless you work totally in black and white, color is part of your artistic day. I’ve written many commentaries about color, or the lack of, but really, we can never say enough about it. Monet hit it on the head when he said; “Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.” When you spend all day working with color, we can appreciate what he is saying here. There are so many ah-ha moments where you back up and say, Wow! That is a delicious combination or stroke of color. Haven’t you done that? Then on the other hand, it can make us tear our hair out.
Artists are so sensitive to their own feelings and moods not to mention everyone else’s too. That artists mood chart that was posted the other day said it all. Our moods peak and plunge just like that chart. After so many years of practice with mixing color, one gets to the point where the color mixing isn’t such a challenge anymore. Its good practice, again as I have said before, to analyze color in what you see each day. I do it all the time, especially when I have been on a roll of painting daily. It becomes who we are. But even with all of those years of experience, there are days!
When painting all day as is necessary when preparing for a show, I need a new palette almost daily. The palette is put into a sealed box over-night, then in the morning the salvageable paint is transferred to a new palette surface. I find the paper palettes work best as I honestly don’t want to spend the time cleaning a wooden palette. The paper surface is fine for me to work on, others don’t care for it. That’s ok, we each do what is best for us. If I am going to duplicate a color that is pretty much gone, I almost always mix that color on the new palette before I throw the old one away. It is a lot easier to do it on the palette than trying to compare with what is already on the painting. Other colors adjacent to the color you are working on will sometimes change the hue slightly. Of course, working on the white palette will also do that if you are trying to mix a color for a dark background. This was discussed recently in a tutorial video that was made.
So, hue that is next to another is totally different than the way it looks on the palette. As I said, also, if you are putting a color onto a very dark background, which I frequently do, you need to be acutely aware of the value. It will look a lot brighter AND lighter on that dark background. While working, constantly color check with your palette knife against the background, or neighboring colors on your painting before applying. It may not be the right hue and/OR value. It is a lot easier to change it before it goes up on the canvas.
A few words on color. As I said I think this could be a never-ending conversation. There is always so much to be discussed about color, mixing and applying. Any comments are welcomed. I would like to hear from your experiences with color, application or mixing. Please share your comments in the comment box below. Thank you!