Tuesday, May 17, 2011

High key discovery

24 x 24, watercolor and pastel on Wallis Museum

Before I painted today, I gave myself an assignment: choose one or two paintings with similar palettes that are unlike what you normally paint. Discover the colors first with watercolor mixes, then by utilizing a limited pastel selection.

In Sarah Cash's book Sargent and the Sea, I looked at a James McNeil Whistler painting called "Crepuscule in Opal."

Both paintings are high key and have a beautifully soft range of color. Pale pinks and yellows, neutral grayed violets and cerulean blue. 

Using these colors as a guide, I painted this familiar beach path scene which I have painted several times before. Click here and here to see some recent efforts.

Results: I felt stretched by the high key palette and enjoyed discovering how these light values worked together to still describe a subject that is packed with personal meaning.

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