I'm having fun with this series, though the challenges of size (4' x 4' or 122 cm x 122 cm), composition and, most of all, colour mean that for the four to five days I spend on one of these I do little else except the minimum household/family necessities. (Sorry I haven't been posting or visiting many blogs lately.)
Someone recently asked me about colour. I have a different approach for each group of paintings but they have elements in common. For the last two paintings I have chosen either a warm or cool colour palette (saturated), but have chosen to 'punctuate' each painting with a few examples from the other temperature. In this case I added a few touches of yellow and red to the overall cool blues and greens. I also use cool or warm neutrals to conform to the palette choice. Cool grey is used here. As for the underpainting, I don't have much of a plan beyond using complementary colours to the colours I plan to use on the final painting.
Last night we played Clue for the first time in ages. Besides it being tons-o-fun, I realized what a great analogy it is to the way I paint. Since I start with only a vague idea of colour, I will often sit and stare at the painting for ages, trying to figure out what colour to use where. (Composition is rarely an issue as I usually work all the compositional problems out in my preparatory sketches.) Like gathering clues in Clue, the more I paint, the clearer the solution becomes. It builds on itself. Not to say that I don't make plenty of mistakes, but the more deliberate the process the fewer times I have to repaint an area. That's a huge budgetary bonus (both time and money) when working this size! I must also admit to some aesthetic guilt as I work out the colour, as I'm striving for the most harmonious combination with maximum impact. Eye candy. But at least Tolstoy agrees with me that it's not necessarily a negative thing. In What Is Art? he said:
The assertion that art may be good art and at the same time incomprehensible to a great number of people, is extremely unjust, and its consequences are ruinous to art itself...
There is nothing more common than to hear it said of reputed works of art that they are very good but very difficult to understand. We are quite used to such assertions, and yet to say that a work of art is good but incomprehensible to the majority of men, is the same as saying of some kind of food that it is very good but most people can't eat it.
Hooray to Tolstoy, even if this quote is often used as justification for the banal. (Uh-oh.)
Next lesson: choice of images and symbols. (My favourite one here is the stencilled lobsters down the right-hand edge.) I just know you'll be waiting with bated breath.