Warm and Cool Color Theory

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ideally this would be printed very large, but as it is the text is squidgy, even when enlarged. So here's the copy for your reading ease:

    A warm or cool color palette can be used to unify a piece of art. Traditionally, warm colors excite a viewer and cool colors have a calming effect. By picking a color palette that is either dominantly warm or cool, an artist can make a subtle statement that will effect the viewer unconsciously. Further, a contrast between warm and cool can also have a strong effect.
    In the first composition, a dominantly cool color palette of blues suggests to the viewer that the scene is set in a cold place. The scene, without a unified cool color palette, might have seemed obviously cold, given the setting, but the cool colors subtly engage the viewer with the coldness of the scene. The same is true of the third composition, this time with a warm color palette of reds and oranges selling the heat of the piece. The middle composition is a study in contrasts. Although the focus of the piece is a fire, the dominantly cool palette implies that the scene is actually cold. Although the figure is near to the fire, it is implied that the fire is not enough. Here, the contrast of the cool, overpowering the warm, creates an even more subtle emotional response in the viewer; more than a totally cool color palette with no fire, or a completely warm color palette where the fire heated the entire scene.
    A color palette can be symbolic, much like the objects or figures of an artwork. A cool or warm palette, and even a contrast, can have as much impact in a work as a more visually explicit object or symbol, and as such can be a powerful tool.

Portrait of Sofia

Drawing by commission. Original in graphite on 15"x18" print making paper, mounted on 16"x20" illustration board.

Water Color Pencil Bananas

This is possibly the first piece I've done in paint (or at least in a paint related medium) that I both enjoyed making and enjoy looking at. I mean, no, it's not the best painting of bananas in the world, or even a very good painting. What it really represents is the first time I've worked with paint without suffering the whole time. The mixing, the mess, the migraines. The infinitely vindictive task of matching the colors and tones you either desire or have already applied. I've hated paint, vigorously. Until now.

This little pair of bananas came right off the top of my head. Only because I had been sketching bananas in a months long preparation to paint some, in either acrylic or oil. And I had given up on the idea that I ever would actually paint the damn things, because I hated working with paint so much. But then, seemingly on a whim, I asked my girlfriend if she still had a set of water color pencils I had once seen in a drawer. She did still have them, and I mindlessly began applying some colors and shapes to a piece of illustration board.

Grabbing a brush and a cup of water, I began washing over my energetic colorings and forming vibrant lovely little blocks of potential fruit. I quickly found out that illustration board is a shitty medium when it comes to applying a lot of water on a brush. After just a few applications, it began to pill and crumble under my relatively light strokes. I also found that in my haste, I hadn't considered my lighting or color choices very well. I also hadn't realized that the gray I had hoped to reduce the tones of my hues with was tinted with a lot of blue and subsequent mixing turned the bananas an unappetizing over ripe green (which is weird in a banana). But none of that mattered to me. I was having fun. I was laughing every few minutes as I worked. Although I was being slapdash and had no idea what I was doing, I was beginning to see what I should do, and how I could proceed more carefully in the future. Something I have never been able to do while painting.

Anyway, I'm very excited. I think this marks a turning point in my relationship to both color and paint. It is not to say I've found my perfect medium, but what I have found is a gateway into painting.