In The Red

Recently I entered, Splashes of Red, a local watercolor show.  The advertised theme was a clue for the requirement…..use red.  Of course, red is probably my favorite color so the requirement started the wheels in motion.  The next question on my mind was what to paint red…flower, barn or something unexpected.  I chose the unexpected like many of the other entries.

What a refreshing sight to view everyone’s individual painting styles using red.  As I strolled through the show it occurred to me painting with red is a challenge…who would think.  Red is that brilliant color that springs from pink to crimson in a second and because it is mid value it must be handled with care.  A red flower for instance….most load a brush with red pigment and precede to fill in the borders.  The red saturated pigment is established, from the beginning, with little thought to other values in the painting.  This also applies using other mid value pigments such as Cobalt Blue.  Double or triple loading  a brush resolves the issue of one value shape or single color hue. Everyone develops their own technique when applying color….therefore a style is born.

Below is a flower and house illustrating the flat red shapes in comparison to the double loaded shapes.  The solid red flower and house are committed to a 5 value from the start…where as the double loaded flower and house grade from a 5 to 3 value leaving more value options. When mid value colors are applied in their concentrated state darker values are applied to soon….6 value to black.

Red project Below is an illustration of double loading a brush with two different hues….notice the nice transition of dark to light/tone to tone…..

double brush 1

Turquoise Mine…Night Lights…

My idea of contemporary art….enjoyed making shapes that could relate to industrial structure and signs seen in busy city’s. The top image had thick gesso applied then scrapped with various tools to give texture. When this was dry I used gray acrylic over the surface to tone down the white gesso. Red acrylic was the dominant color with accents of turquoise to suggest industrial forms…dark lines tied the shapes together and some calligraphy marks. Black gesso was applied heavy and before dry added white gesso on the second image…using different brushes and tools to scrape through the heavy mixture drawing rectangles, circles and squares to represent signs….when dry I used watercolor in those shapes..suggesting arches to identify buildings….I also used some stamps for signage….both paintings are on canvas.