As a landscape painter who loves painting skies, I’ve always been partial to blues — from the palest, most delicate tint to the deepest, darkest shades. I’ve come to define myself as a reflective artist, because this is the quality I see most often in my oil paintings. My paintings tend to be thoughtful and meditative. At least that’s how I hope they appear to others. I love to paint quiet scenes of nature, and my palette has generally been somewhat subdued. Along with blue, I’m drawn to various grays, and gray-greens. Just take a look at that recent winter scene I painted.
These are, without a doubt, my colors. They’re moody, they’re quiet, they’re subtle… but, wait! Take a look at that brush in the lower left corner. Notice how I used yellow ochre there? My, my, but doesn’t that add a richness to the scene? Doesn’t that bright bit of yellow really bring it all to life?
Adding that small bit of yellow ochre surprised me. At first I worried that it spoiled all my work, but as I stepped back and took a better look at it, I liked what I saw.
And then I worked on that little oil I showed as part of my Theme and Variations project.
At first, while I was working on this, it looked a bit ho-hum to me. Just another painting with a little pond and lots of greenery around it. Nothing new. Nothing different. Nothing exciting.
I wanted to brighten it up a bit. How could I add a feeling of sunlight? Well, yellow, of course. I grabbed yellow ochre first, wasn’t satisfied with it, so I added strokes of lemon yellow. Suddenly it looked bright and cheery. I liked it… a lot.
The next day I found myself staring at yet another rather dull, very predictable, and quite tiresome landscape scene. The painting is part of a study of skies and clouds, so that’s what most of it is. I liked my sky. I liked my trees, too. But what about that foreground?
I always have problems with foregrounds, you know. What to do with it?
Maybe I could add a few flowers! How about yellow flowers?
Again, I reached for lemon yellow and was amazed at how bright and cheerful this painting suddenly became. Lemon yellow, I realized, was quickly becoming my new favorite color.
So, when I began this landscape and found myself once again looking at a familiar — and tiresome — scene of trees, I knew exactly what the painting needed. Yellow flowers. Lots of yellow flowers.
I’m madly in love with the yellow flowers on the right edge. I actually painted those flowers! Dare I say it again… wonders never cease!
This painting, too, was a practice piece, an opportunity to mix and play with lots of greens. I like some of the greens I used, others I don’t care for, but more than anything I love that lemon yellow.
So, I’ll be using a lot more lemon yellow in my paintings. I was running low, so I’ve already ordered a large tube. I have a feeling I’m going to need it!
What’s YOUR favorite color? What colors do you most enjoy using in your art?