Friday, March 16, 2012

Cardinal study

Cardinal study, 5" x 7", oil (click to bid)

Today I painted a cardinal, a bird I have been avoiding only because it has been painted multi-jillions of times. My rational is I want to try and stay as original in my subject matter as I can... Yeah, I need to get over it...that's not necessarily a great reason. I mean, if it has always been a good subject to paint, and is still a good subject, I don't need to worry about not doing so. It's just me dealing with some of my weirdness! Besides, one of the great things about painting these small studies is you get to experiment with subjects and techniques that you might not otherwise consider.

One of the fatal mistakes beginning painters make is how they deal with color. They tend to paint color very simply and flat. For example they may paint green grass green, and the same green from one side of the canvas to the other side. What you say? The grass is green. But I have rarely seen green grass that did not have a multitude of different green hues in it. And not only that but browns, blues, tans, etc., and maybe one of the most important colors that is often overlooked, a range of beautiful greys. In mixing the red I used on the cardinal, I used many reds and altered them in color temperature,  and also value. But not only that, I also included blues, greens, violet, and burnt umber in the bird. And I would actually consider that my color usage on this subject was fairly simple. Indeed, looking back on how I painted the cardinal, I wish I had pushed the color variation to be more complex. But, once again, that is what studies are for. To teach you how to paint the subject better when you paint that large painting.

So the lesson from this blog? Try to be more complex in your usage of color, and begin to experiment with mixing and using different color greys. You will be amazed at how this can transform your painting!

Hope this helps! Thanks for the visit!

1 comment:

  1. Great article and thanks for sharing your thoughts as a painter!