Developing Color Sensibilities
Understanding hue, chroma and value allows Veronica Winters to draw and paint expressive works of art
Iseek color in emotions, find stories in a painting and pursue feelings in color. Working in colored pencil and oil paint, I often create fully rendered portrait drawings in colored pencil before switching to paint and developing my ideas further. My sense of color has developed greatly over the years where I’ve learned to analyze the light on a form and how it changes and shapes every subject in front of me. I began my explorations in color from the impressionists.
In their paintings, we see so much color in the shadows, and their abbreviation of black taught me to seek color in grey, black and white. Contrary to that, powerful chiaroscuro by Caravaggio and Baroque painting made me look at a painting’s design and the importance of light, singling out one color over the rest. This gentle rivalry between the colors and design led me to appreciating and finding my color
oil on panel, 16 x 20" (41 x 51 cm)
In this self-portrait I had to combine two references to create a surreal painting that evokes darker emotions. When using multiple references, it’s important to match the lighting conditions in all pictures used to orchestrate composition. When I have a concept I want to paint, I often use Photoshop to play with the images to see if they “connect” with each other. harmonies in drawing and painting, which is a continuous process to date. The last stretch in painting is always the longest. When every stroke becomes deliberate, expression, light and color unite to tell a story in art. I chase not only the elusive beauty but also my limitless desire to succeed in painting.
I think it’s important to start painting from the right photo reference or better from life, learning to assemble and to observe the still lifes under various lighting conditions. By observing the phenomenon of light turning the form from life, the artist is able to bring his or her knowledge to painting from pictures, and not vice versa. To begin, references must have a set up with the light from a single, direct light source with clear highlights and strong shadows, and a focal point to make it work. Next step would be looking at colors and organizing the subject so there is one or two hues being the strongest with the rest playing a supportive role.
When we look at color there are three parameters to understand: hue (red, green, yellow); chroma (strength or purity of a color); and value (how light or dark it is). All three parameters are always at play simultaneously. You may want to research the Munsell color method for that to understand how colors relate to each other on a scale. I think it’s much easier to control the three parameters of a color in drawing, because colors are layered in subsequent layers, while painting requires this precise color mixing with every stroke. If I need a darker shadow in a drawing,
I can simply layer more of the same
Self-portrait: Facing forty,