Sunday, August 22, 2010

Colour and How It Can Be Used

I'm constantly amazed at the beauty of nature and how transitory it can be.  Take a sunrise or a sunset, often these transition phases in the day are the most beautiful, and the most fleeting in time duration.
Artists and photographers are attracted to these times of day due to the vivid colours and deepness of the hues.

It seems that every sunset (I tend to see more of these, morning is not my best time!) is unique...  And depending upon atmospheric conditions, can have more colours sprayed across the horizon than one would ever believe possible. beauty is something that appeals strongly to the human psyche...  It's more precious because it passes so quickly.  It all about appreciating something that can't be held or pinned down... With artists though, it's more about color scheme and dramatic contrast.  Artwork is much more visually exciting if colours play off against each other and don't fade into the background.  Complementary colours are great but rarely occur in nature.  An artist will change colours to create colour harmonies that are more pleasing to the eye and jump out at the viewer. In fact, when complementary colours are placed side by side in a piece, they will both seem brighter and more vivid.
You also extensively use complementary colours to tone down an overly bright colour in a painting.  I tend to tone down most of my colours because I like my colours to give a realistic tone to forms within a painting, this makes the piece seem more real, even if it is an abstract landscape.

Think about those paintings all did in elementary school.  We used tempera watercolour paints and we pretty well all painted in unmixed colours.  The colours jumped out at us and they were vivid and atttractive.  But they never looked like a real place no matter how beautifully painted they were... The thing is, because there was no shadows to make the forms in the paintings look like they were floating in space, 3D, they didn't look like they had substance.  And shadows are great, as long as they are present and a thing appears to be 3D it's much, much easier to suspend our disbelief and allow ourselves to pretend this fantasy place exists!

And isn't that part of the point to art sometimes?  To allow us to journey somewhere else?  Someplace exotic that we couldn't see any other way?

Images By Teresa Young:
1. Sunset at Peggy's Cove, NS,  2. Sunrise out  my window,  3. The Ripple Effect - May 2004,  4. Velvet Dreams - Apr.2002,  5. Constrained - Mar.2004,  6. The Tree Grows - Mar.2009.

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