Following the Rules, or not.

color palettes.jpg

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen this photo a while back. I had the idea to make a bunch of pre-determined color palettes for an experiment in color. I chose the top left palette to start with, and you may be surprised by what came out of it.

 Among the Zinnias 24x24" acrylic on canvas. SOLD

Among the Zinnias 24x24" acrylic on canvas. SOLD

I started with two canvases, and a piece of watercolor paper. My idea was to use the same colors to create three paintings with different subjects and moods by emphasizing different colors on the palette. Well, I did get three different paintings and moods, but they didn't all stick to the palette. The first painting to come out of this experiment was Among the Zinnias (which you can read more about here) It stayed pretty close to the color palette, but it got a few additional colors. 

 Walking the Walk. 11x14" acrylic on watercolor paper. Available $175

Walking the Walk. 11x14" acrylic on watercolor paper. Available $175

The second painting was Walking the Walk (which you can read more about here). This painting started with the same color palette, but went in an entirely different direction. When I am painting, I like to let my intuition will guide me when choosing colors. I started with the pre determined palette, but I felt this haughty young man needed a more serious set of colors. The aquas and greens just did not suit his personality, so he got a more subdued color scheme.

 Tranquility 8x10" acrylic on gallery wrap canvas Available $125

Tranquility 8x10" acrylic on gallery wrap canvas Available $125

But here is Tranquility, the smallest of the three, and the only one that kept to its original color scheme. I named it Tranquility not only for its cool aqua hue, but also for the mood I was in while painting it. What began, like most of my paintings, as a chaos of color and texture, gradually calmed and quieted into this dreamy floral. 

I like to give my experiments guidelines, rules to help guide me in my choices. Sometimes the rules are helpful, and sometimes they need to be broken. I am not finished with this experiment, and those palettes are still pinned to my studio wall. As I work, I look at them, and think of what paintings will come next.  Experimenting helps me to learn and grow, to try new things and explore my medium and composition choices. It keeps me interested and excited about what I'm working on. Sometimes, its important to stick to the parameters I've set for myself, and sometimes it is not. When its not important, I like to allow my intuition to guide me, because it will often take me on an interesting journey.