Wrestling a painting into submission is tough…

I mentioned last week that there are a lot of artists that don’t like working with what is called a “restricted” palette, or even a palette that follows a chord. They like to use what is called an “open palette.” Meaning all 12 hue families are available to use. No limitations. No one will hold you down and make you use a color harmony. (whew!) The choices you make about color are up to you. You don’t have to limit how many colors you use if chords feel very restrictive. However, great artists that use an open palette system always seem to have one thing in common… a clear color dominance and a clear planned “key” of the image. Like I showed last week, dominance in a painting will keep it from getting “out of hand” and appear like a “rainbow” affect from too many colors.

Richard Schmid was a great artist who doesn’t believe in color chords. However, the marks in his paintings and a clear color key and dominance are always present. If you study his work, it can show a lot.

Clear yellow-green dominance here.

Clear blue-green dominance here. Notice how these 2 paintings feel so different from each other.

Orange dominance

Yellow dominance.

Yes, yellow. This painting is very high key- very light overall and only a few dark spots. The yellow is everywhere- background, face, shirt… and very low chroma. Did ya catch it?

So, no matter what you plan or which chord you pick, think about color dominances. It will keep the painting from getting away from you. And planning = success.


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