When I was younger, I did a lot of photography, mostly in black and white. When I first began doing color photography, a good friend whose photographs I admired gave me a piece of advice. The best color shots, he said, we often those that were similar to black and white, that is, they used a very narrow color range.
I’ll admit, I sort of scoffed at that idea at first, but then as I looked at photographs I understood what my friend meant. He was right. Although there’s a place for bold, bright colors, there’s much to be said for the limited palette in both photography and art.
Therein lies my dilemma.
I love works that are almost monochromatic. When I go to art galleries or view paintings online, I’m always drawn to those that have subtle colors. They seem to evoke more moods and emotions for me. In my life, you see, I’m a fairly quiet, reflective individual. I don’t like crowds. I don’t like noise. I like peaceful, serene surroundings.
So, it would seem only natural that I would also love painting with a limited range of colors, and, yes, I do. At times. But I find that I tend to get bored with it, so I go back and forth, using subtle colors one day, then going for big splashes of color the next.
Here’s my subtle painting for today. You will notice, I hope, that I got the shape of my evergreens a little better, or, at least, I’d like to think I did.
I like a lot in the painting, but I think I want to work with more than three colors. My palette for this one was Titanium White, Phthalo Blue, and Raw Umber.
In many ways, the painting does reflect who I am as an artist, and I like that. At the same time, I want to explore so many other colors and ideas. Yet when I do paint with bright, bold colors, it seems unnatural to me. I’m not a bright, bold person, so using vivid colors seems almost as if I’m being untrue to who I am.
Am I making any sense? Maybe not. It’s a tricky question, I guess, and it all goes back to finding who I am as an artist. I’m still searching for who I am and who I want to be.