Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Red Truck and Wood Pile (in progress)

Here's a detail of first color--all keyed to the red truck--on yesterday's under painting.


Jana Bouc said...

If you have time in the midst of all your show prep, etc., I'd love to hear a little more about what you mean by "keyed to the red truck." How I'm understanding it is that you want the red truck to be the focal point and the strongest color so everything else needs to be subservient to it. But maybe I misunderstand?

Also I was curious when you said "here's a detail of first color" since the "underpainting" seemed to be full of color (I think I see red, blue and yellow, just no green). I noticed that sometimes your underpaintings are completely monochrome, but this one seems more like a lay in of thin colors in the big shapes.

I love your work and still intend to come to Vermont to study with you, hopefully next year when I finally leave my day job.

If you don't have time to answer, no worries. I understand. Painting must come first!

Susan Abbott said...

Hi, Jana. By "keying" the color to red, I don't really mean focal point. I don't think that much about focal points, instead more about what the visual idea is, or emotion of the painting. So by "keying" I mean more having that color be the main note that all the other colors relate to. To use a music analogy, maybe that note (red) will repeat in different octaves (lighter or darker red) or in a chord (warm red, cool red, red-violet, blue-violet). An interesting problem, to take a strong local color, like the red truck, and relate to it all of the varied atmospheric color of the landscape.
On the under painting question--I did use a couple of colors in the sky, but the land is just burnt sienna and ultramarine blue, to establish values and a bit of warm and cool.Sometimes the under paintings are more monochromatic, but lately I've been using the blue and brown to start stating temperature before I get to more color.
That approach I only use for studio painting, for which I use drawings, photos and memories as references. When painting plein air, I go right to alla prima color instead of under painting.

Jana Bouc said...

Thanks Susan! Very interesting and thought provoking. I like both the idea of keying a picture to one color--a great way to explore color and have a harmonious painting, and the music analogy which brought to mind the idea of humming a few color chords! I appreciate hearing about your the differentiation between studio color and alla prima plein air color.