Sometimes you like a piece of art “just because” and it can be difficult to say exactly why. Generally speaking, we are drawn to colors that compliment or contrast, the subject matter itself, and a well-balanced piece.
Here are three things for you to notice about my art, so that you’ll know WHY you like it!
In my paintings, I like to make sure everything is well-balanced, so that the eye goes all over the painting, and perhaps to some focal points I’ve made pop.
With this one, called Late Summer, Just As It Is, I’ve balanced the top of the sun with the top part of the mountain. Not too high, not too low.
Then with the textured rectangles, they slope with approximately the same angle as the mountain in the opposite direction. The presence of the textured rectangles balances out the entire right side of the painting as well.
This painting is one of my favorites for showing complimentary and contrasting colors. I use a color wheel when working, and part of the decision on what color to use depends on where it is on the color wheel.
Do I want an overall warm tone or cool tone? A Wind Bell is overall warm.
What color is my focal point? The Buddha is quite the focal point, as is the bell, which is the namesake of this painting. It is why I chose to paint the bell the same color as the Buddha statue.
How do these colors compliment? Blue-green and orange yellow are what are called triad colors. Blue-green’s opposite is red-orange, the color, more or less, of the leaves and sort of the fabric of the brass bowl cushion. Then on either side of red-orange on the color wheel is red and orange. Next to those colors are the triad colors. Next to the orange is yellow orange, the color of the wall, and next to red is red-violet, which I didn’t really use in this painting.
To keep consistent within my painting, I use the same colors throughout. For example, the green-blue is used in the floor and for a little bit of the sky in the far left of the window.
Notice the balance in this painting, too. While sketching out this picture before painting it, I did not have the brass bowl on the floor. I couldn’t have a blank floor! I needed something there to balance out the opposite corner where the haiku calligraphy is. The window is also approximately the same size as the Buddha statue and table. So the eye follows the painting like an X with smaller items diagonal to each other, larger items also diagonal to each other. Does that make sense?
I love texture. I just love it when I see bold brush strokes on a painting and I want to reach out and feel it. Van Gogh’s paintings do that to me, as do Wayne Thiebaud’s cakes and pies. In my art I like to incorporate texture by swirling in rectangles or circles, like above, or through the use of tissue papers or just some nice, thick paint.
Another way I use texture is to almost sculpt the canvas with combing through the preparation of gesso, gel and modeling paste that is laid down on the canvas before I even start painting. I like to create textures that will pool into interesting patterns when I put down a glaze or layer of thin paint.