I have mentioned before on this blog how I am always looking for great shades of grey. I have found one from a mix of transparent maroon and an emerald green.
In this painting of silhouetted quince leaves I played around mixing the grey on the palette and allowing the colors to mix directly on the paper. What do you think would be a good background color to complement them? The green turns this crazy bright teal color. It’s a little too psychedelic for me, but I really enjoy the shades of grays that are produced when blended with the maroon.
I tried this same color scheme in my painting of an ornamental plum tree branch, using a background of coral colored paint because coral and grey go well together. Again this is also feeling a little too garish. I think if I can get just the right amount of understated greys , it will look really nicely against a coral colored background.
What was interesting while I was painting this were the muted shades of maroon and green on top of the more tangerine colored background…together they started to make this brown color…too much of it and the painting would look muddy but just enough of it helps offset some of the bright saturated colors used elsewhere. It’s kind of like cooking (not that I can cook) where you seek to have just the right balance of acid…too much and the dish is bitter/sour…too little and the dish is too salty/sweet…with the right amount you achieve a superb balance of flavors. That’s what I’m going for this balance…I haven’t hit it yet but hopefully with the same colors I can get it in my next painting!
I am searching for great greys and blacks in water based paint. I love how darks look in oil paint. But I haven’t found a really great way to do a dark background in watercolor. I’m trying this slate gray using gouache.
Gouache is an opaque water based paint that has a wonderful chalky texture. You can dilute it so it’s like a watercolor or apply it thick like toothpaste. The sweet spot is a chalky soup but as always I tend to use too much water. I love the soft matte texture that you get, and the colors man. I’m like a kid in the candy store and I want every single color that they make. One trick about gouache- it’s not permanent like india ink or acrylic— you can always reactivate the previous dried layer. It’s fun or frustrating, depending on your goal.
I love patterns but I normally don’t paint them because of the effort involved in drawing them. Patterns tend to be stylized, so they aren’t the curves or shapes you would find in nature but very precise geometric shapes. IMO they’re boring to draw and you have to have the type of personality to painstakingly want to paint each line and curve exactly.
I was inspired by this blue rug, the perfect shade of blue, I still haven’t mixed it exactly yet. And I love all the antique rugs that are popping up on my Instagram feed. There’s something about the texture and the age of these old rugs that I love (the patina, can I use that to describe rugs?) and wanted to try to emulate using gouache.
Of course a part of me is like, I’m spending all this time to paint something to look like a rug, when I could spend that time to do something like learn to weave a rug and then I’d have an awesome rug, instead of this piece of paper. I am never practical.
Well I went too far with this, I should’ve stopped earlier. But I wanted to try to see how gouache would look with a pure watercolor area and the transition doesn’t feel right. Also the colors are way way way too garish for me. I think that Kehinde Wiley exhibit somehow made its way into this painting.
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