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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Study in Yellow or "Art Deco"

Study in Yellow, 12x9, oil on canvas board
In order to understand the color yellow and how to portray it in paint, I set up this still life. One of my friends lent me the art deco style vase (what a great shape!), I found the yellow calla lilies at Safeway, and I had the ART book and the yellow paper that it all sits on. The vase did not look quite so "yellow" once it was surrounded by the other more pure yellow objects. In fact it looked quite flat and an un-interesting shade. Luckily it got a lot of reflected color into in and I fudged it a bit more to make a harmonious yellow painting. The reddish cast at the bottom of the vase was really "there" and I would love to know the wherefore of that. How does a yellowish vase sitting on yellow paper create a reddish reflected light? The room had cool florescent lighting and no sunlight.

To paint this I used a variety of cool and warm yellows. The base yellow for the vase was yellow ocher which is warm and flat; for the paper surface I used a warm Indian yellow which tends to a reddish yellow, and for the book cover, a cool lemon yellow which can look greenish. For the callas lilies I used the lemon yellow mixed with yellow pale and cadmium yellow medium which is warm but not as translucent as the Indian yellow. To get the form of the lilies I added violet and or cobalt blue to the yellow except on the far right where orange was called for.

This was a fun still life to paint and has given me much food for thought.

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