Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What I learned about color while painting commissions

One of the best things about being an artist is the places it has taken me, both literally and metaphorically. I am partnering with furniture manufacturer CR Laine again for 2016 High Point Market. This time I was given sizes and color palettes to create pieces specifically for their vast and inspiring showroom.

I love this new colorway in Bruschwig and Fils' Le Lac fabric

This kind of project is what I live for. I love the process of color matching and the wide open freedom to create whatever I think will work in a space given a set palette.
While I can't show you any of the completed pieces yet I want to show you the process and how it changed how I get to a finished work.

Detail of larger work

The fabrics above were the collection I was given for a 70 x 50 inch canvas and the color palette scared me. There are viridian and turquoise and Pthalo blues that I normally avoid in my work. I decided to use the yellow ochre as a starting point. I really used a bright yellow spray paint and some ochre for my first layer. Next I layered sheer and opaque whites. Grayish, beige-ish, yellowish, and bright whites but those bold colors still needed to find a way on to the canvas. In the photo above you can see areas of viridian that were part of my next step that absolutely terrified me.

Detail of larger work

I spoke to an artist friend and she said the thing that she has often said, "Give your self permission to paint something ugly." I knew she was right. I only had two layers on so I began roughly adding all of the scary bright colors with no clear idea how I would turn it into something that someone would want to look at or hopefully, buy.
I began adding in the black and brown found in the fabrics and had a little epiphany. You see I was also painting a 36 x 48 canvas for the same space and I started with a painting that was in progress that had a few of the right colors but also had a peachy coral and a hint of lavender. Why do I have to stick firmly to these colors, I thought ? Maybe add another green or a variety of grays along with the prescribed colors. I did and also continued layering on the grays and beiges while finishing with more ochre and the bold blues in the fabrics.

Wet ochre color in this detail of a larger piece

Well, I can tell you that the most challenging painting is my favorite of the bunch and it taught me something about how I use color. The discovery in each painting is a big reason for my doing it at all and this did not disappoint. I heard an apt quote recently. 
"You will never know everything about something you love"
Stay tuned in April and I will be showing you what I take to market. If happen to go to High Point Market this Spring please stop by the CR Laine showroom and say Hi. I will be there on Saturday and Sunday.


Karena Albert said...

Congratulations Kerry! This is so very exciting; you are on an amazing adventure and painting in a new palette!

The Arts by Karena

Kristen @ Pursuing Vintage said...

Kerry- that is so wonderful you're going to HP with CR Laine! Congrats! I'm sure the paintings will be stunning - I'm loving the sneak peeks!

LPC said...

I can't wait to see the next post.