Last Night’s Class Lecture

“Carrots”
oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″
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Last night, I spent 90 minutes jumping through hoops, showing charts, wheels, paintings and scribbling on the white board about the four aspects of color: Hue, temperature, intensity and value.

It is always amazing to watch the looks on peoples’ faces as the truth unfolds that few painters are willing to face: It takes work and study to fully internalize these aspects and be able to mix colors well. The blank looks and twisted brows say much about wanting the ‘quick secret.’

There are countless hours under my belt doing these studies about intensity and how that differs from value. There is as much or more study about how temperature changes imply light and shadow and can reveal depth much more so than a simple value change. I received an email from a long time friend this morning which said, “To be a great artist you have to work harder than other artists. . . .and that isn’t so difficult! Most aren’t willing to put in the work.”

I have much more to master with color and much more work to do to really make it become second nature. As I painted this subject, two hours into it and nearly done, I happened to actually see some new colors in the shadows that I hadn’t noticed all morning. A small little dark shadow edge, right under the edge of the carrot, showed up as violet suddenly! Why didn’t I see this two hours ago, I asked? It must be that my observation powers click into gear after spending a LONG time looking. Or is it that after almost 30 paintings . . .and a dozen more practice workups . . . .I am beginning to see? It that possible?

And someone in class, last nite, said that shadows were gray! I wish they could have seen what I saw this morning!

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