Monday, December 1, 2008

Painting in Vibrant Colors

Brown County Path
Oil on canvas

Two years ago I attended the monthly meeting of an art league I belonged to at the time.  That evening the members were expected to bring in a painting  for critique night.  So I brought this one in.  It's not my best work, but I always liked it for the vibrant colors I used.  It was painted on a trip my brother and I took to Brown County, Indiana for a workshop.  I was influenced by the purple haze in that part of the country.  When we looked out at the beautiful rolling hills, one could actually see violets, pinks and periwinkle colors.  

The artist doing the critique was actually an award winning watercolor artist.  I admire his work even though it's totally different from mine.  Now I'm  the kind of person who is usually described by others as being private, reserved ... you get the picture.  Mostly my work reflects my personality.  But with this particular painting, my feelings for this scene seemed to spill over onto the canvas.  I used cobalt violet in the sky, trees and ground.  For me, it was "out there".

The funny part about it was when it came my turn to be critiqued, the artist doing the critique told me I should "tone it down".  Of course, I didn't say anything.  But later, I thought "tone it down?"  That evening was kind of a break-through for me.  I had never been told to tone it down.  So therefore, since then I've been toning it up.  And it's been so much fun.  So satisfying.  This is probably why I'm so drawn to art making.  I'll never tone it down again.


Karen said...

This is so gorgeous!! And I laughed out loud at your reaction to being told to tone it down. I've heard that too, so I will have to remember your reaction instead of doubting my work! So glad to have found your blog!

Celeste Bergin said...

I think many watercolorists are watercolorists because they enjoy subtlety. That's often their "thing".
Your painting is very strong. I can see why you felt solid about it. Isn't it funny sometimes how critique and so-called advice can be paradoxical?

Janelle Goodwin said...

Thanks for your comments, Karen. I'm glad I made you laugh. I can laugh about it now too!

Thanks, Celeste. I think you're right about watercolorists. I never thought of it that way before.

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Bravo Janelle and don't "tone it down" one bit! I remember being turned away from a gallery one time becuase they said my work was "too European"...what the heck does that mean? Ha!

Janelle Goodwin said...

Cara, that's just too funny. Thanks for your encouragement.

Marian Fortunati said...

There are paintings for everyone ... for those of us who paint, I think the most important paintings are the ones we paint for ourselves.
This is beautiful as was the "more subdued" one you painted of the winter scene in the post before this.
I'm glad I got to read your blog and I will definately be back to visit. Thank you for sharing!!

Janelle Goodwin said...

Marian, that's so true about painting for oneself. Those are the best paintings. Thanks for visiting.

William said...

This piece is simply beautiful. That "tone it down" comment is a load of crap. Part of the seduction of oil paint comes from the rich, vibrant colors one can use. I really like the warm greens you mix, and they work well in this piece. Life is too short for boring art. Keep using those beautiful, vibrant colors! -W

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

hi janelle, it's been a while since i've had time to read blogs, but i appreciated your comment so much i had to pop over quick. i love this painting. the colors are rich and beautiful and i think that although he is entitled to his opinion, that art isn't always about realistic interpretations, it's about capturing the mood and feeling you experienced, which I think you have done marvelously. this is a painting i would be immediately attracted to in a gallery! beautiful!