Oil Painting Workshop #5:  How Two Masters Painted Local Color

Oil Painting Workshop #5: How Two Masters Painted Local Color


As we saw in the previous video, using a color
isolator is helpful for accurately identifying the color of the objects you’re painting. Carefully observing masterpieces is another
way to sensitize yourself to the actual colors of things. In this video, we’ll look at how two masters
handles their color choices when painting snow and oranges. I’m Sarah F. Jayne. Welcome to this episode
of my painting videos, In the previous video, Seeing Color, we explored
the gap between what we assume about the color of an object and the color it actually is
as a result of the light sources, surrounding objects, and other factors. Now, we’ll look at how the great Impressionist
master Monet painted snow in his brilliant masterpiece, The Magpie. If you ever get a
chance to see this painting in person, jump at the opportunity. It will enhance your perception
of snow forever. As you can see in Monet’s painting, he used three main colors to represent
snow, a marbled painterly white, a painterly brownish blue gray, and a darker blue gray.
His expressive brushwork and mixing style are also richly evident. It’s worth noting
that if we were standing at Monet’s side almost 150 years ago, and looking at the painting
in real life, the colors might be very different. In the previous video, we saw that this orange
had three distinct color patches. As you can see in this painting by Zurburan, Still LIfe
with Lemons, Oranges, and Roses, the three main colors he mixed to represent the oranges
are a pale yellow, a darker orange red, and a darkish brown. This painting was painted
almost four centuries ago, so certainly the colors may have changed. At least at present
none of these colors is what we typically associate with the word “orange”; and
yet, Zurburan’s fruit clearly read as being oranges. So, as you reach for your tubes of paint to
mix a color, remember the diverse range of colors we’ve observed in snow and oranges
and look at your objects with new eyes. Ignore the identifying local colors and look at what
colors your paintings’ subjects really are. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. I invite
you to subscribe to my YouTube channel. I regularly post painting videos that include
mini-demonstrations or painting tips. I look forward to painting with you!

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