Friday, October 30, 2009

Healthy dose of reality...I mean realism.

I find creating "realism" in a painting helps ground and settle me in the present. Realism on a 2D surface is nothing but "special effects"... i.e. simply drawing with value and color perspective.
For this "breath of fresh - garlic", I have chosen a neutralized complimentary color scheme of "oranges" and "blues". Considering color harmony, I will keep my palette simple, choosing only a few colors within my color scheme that represent a variety in value (lights, darks, and midtones), softness, temperature (warm and cool colors) and chroma (intensity).
Form and value in painting are built by layering pastel of various hues and color temperature. Most often, I will work spatially, working an area as it occurs in space on the 2D plane. I begin with the most distant space and work towards the most forward space. That said, I continuously go back and make minor adjustments to previously worked areas to balance the colors and values throughout the painting. In general within these spaces, I work from dark to light and harder to softer pastel.
Studying the light as it falls on the subject, I first lay in the darker and "cooler" color followed by the warmer darks. I consider this the foundation darks, followed by the lighter, softer color "on top". By accurately portraying these values, form and depth are created (and thus the "special effects" of painting).


David said...

I have always wondered how an artist is able to create light and dark areas. The play of light and its use to me seems very fasinating.

Thanks for the insight.

Anonymous said...


Reality versus realism. I like it. But, I was wondering why you only consider it a 2 dimensional surface when life goes beyond that into multidimensional qualities beyond even the level of quantuum analsis. That is where the spiritual takes over.

ariel freeman said...

Interesting, I had not considered life as a physical dimension in surface. Thank you for you analysis :-)

David said...


I was so taken by the thoughts of "Anonymous" that the improper spelling of the word "analysis" at first escaped me. But, I see that you noted it in your gracious response.

Thank you,


Gwen Bell said...

Thank you so much for this post and the 2 beneath it! So many times I struggle with a painting simply because I am self taught and don't know why I do what I do. These posts are chocked full of valuable guidelines, and more importantly WHY things work and how to accomplish it. Can't wait to put this to use!

ariel freeman said...

Thank you so much for all your comments. And David, I too did not notice the mispelled word, can't spell-check posts :-). Thank you Gwen! I am also a self-taught painter and so when teaching other new painters, I always try to include the principles that I believe make paintings stronger.

David said...

Well Ariel,

I guess as a former psychologist I was out guessing myself. That is the way, I would have done it.

Thanks for your clarification.

I do want to start taking lessons when my schedule starts to make sense.