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Topic: Color insecurity  (Read 2248 times)
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Ludi
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« on: March 17, 2010 05:26:12 PM »

I'm trying to get more color in my work, and feeling an incredible amount of insecurity.  I feel somewhat more confident as a sculptor in monochrome (clay color  Embarrassed).  My color choices as a painter have tended to be rather timid, I think. Any suggestions on how to become more confident with using color?

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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2010 05:36:08 PM »

Try some tried and true color combos. Complimentary colors (opposite on the color wheel - ie. blue and orange), split complimentary (a color and the two flanking it's compliment - like blue with red/orange and yellow orange), analogous (colors next to each other one the color wheel) and triadic (form and equilateral triangle on the color wheel - ie. primary color) are all good combos.

Let me know if that doesn't make sense to you. You can also try looking up color theory.  Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2010 05:41:43 PM »

Thank you!  I'm only somewhat familiar with color theory.  I guess it's never too late to learn.  I find myself sticking to analogous color schemes, which seem safe but don't please me much.  I'd like to be more bold.  I will attempt some split complimentary schemes, if I can fling myself into them.  Scared!   Shocked
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2010 05:47:43 PM »

Also, if you want to go with contrasting (opposite) colors, try using toned down versions of each color. That way you can use both colors without them trying to overpower each other or look out of place.
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2010 01:57:51 AM »

Why don't you try http://www.colourlovers.com/ ... they have a wide-range of color palettes, maybe you'll find something inspiring...  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2010 06:49:41 AM »

These are good suggestions.  Thank you for that link!


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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2010 06:51:59 AM »

I think this artist uses color brilliantly:  http://frodok.deviantart.com/

I'm studying his work for inspiration.


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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2010 07:42:51 PM »

One thing that really helped me explore color was painting from life. And I mean without sketching first, being very 'automatic' and fast about it like sketching. It's incredible the amount of color that is actually present in someone's face even though the overall impression is 'flesh tone'. You'll find everything from blue and green to red and purple just because of the way light will reflect off the skin and the surroundings.  I was very afraid at first but, if I was painting my portrait let's say, and I saw an area of the face that was a blueish green I put a dab of blueish green on my canvas and lo and behold the odd mixes of color, most of which were not flesh tone, made the end result more 'alive'. It gets better with practice and is really fun. You'll be amazed at the results:)
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2010 03:45:58 AM »

Thank you for those insights! 
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« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2010 11:22:26 PM »

Get some paint and a Bristol pad and go nuts! try all your colors and help yourself determen what go's good together.
Dont think about showing it to anyone, its for study and keep in mind that your not intending to empress anyone but yourself.
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2010 11:21:31 PM »

I think this artist uses color brilliantly:  http://frodok.deviantart.com/

I'm studying his work for inspiration.




This guy uses a technique of cool and warm colors.  Basically he uses blues and greens primarily in the background.  These are considered cool colors.  he uses oranges, reds and yellows in the forground-these are warm colors. The warm colors, when placed in the front, make the cool  color appear to receed, giving off a false sense of depth. This in turn pushes the warm colors more forward-again giving off a false sense of depth.


I also have a hard time with color. It's far more comfortable for me to do things in black and white, and I do a lot of black and white pictures because of this. Plus black and white and monochromes appeal more to me. But color images can be so amazing, that its sad not to do them. Here's how I got over the first initial hump- pick up your favorite medium or one that you are more comfortable in. If you paint , then use paint that you are comfortable with. I am a pencil person, so I used chalk pastel pencils first, because pencils were more comfortable for me.  Then take a piece of paper and force yourself to draw something, anything. Doesnt matter what it is. I actually tried a remake of a disney picture I liked. Repeat this a few times, you'll find that you are far more comfortable with color after that. And then just branch out in different mediums. I find that when I just force myself to do it, and dont worry/think about the outcome, it is much more enjoyable.


Good luck.
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« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2010 04:56:10 PM »

Thank you for those insights and suggestions!

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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2010 08:22:48 PM »

What about finding a nice coloring book? I especially like mandala coloring books and Dover publications has a lot of great coloring books for not much money. They also have a weekly e-mail with pages you can print and color. You won't have to worry about what the image is, you can just play with the colors in the image.
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« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2010 11:49:55 AM »

I am the opposite from you- I tend to use very vivid, bright colors automatically. I was painting something a while back and decided that a certain element in the painting would do better in black and white, while letting the remainder of the painting be bright as usual. It was a real challenge to figure out how to get everything to look right with such a limited pallet. The way that I ended up having to do it was to pack up all the colors I normally use and only put out my blacks, grays, and whites. Then I didnt have a choice and wasnt so distracted.

Maybe you could try that; just put away the types of colors you are comfortable with and leave out only the brightest and richest colors that you have. Or do a painting using only reds and pinks, or greens, or blues. That might get you acquainted and at ease with them, having had to stare at and work with them for the duration of a whole painting.

Just my 2 cents!
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Ludi
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« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2010 02:35:49 PM »

Sorry I hadn't checked back here in awhile!  Thanks for the suggestions - the next piece I start, I am going to try to move away from the safe zone!

Currently working on very safe things, darn me!  Tongue
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« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2010 10:03:07 AM »

First of all, I second all the color theory suggestions mentioned already. Very good advice!

This may sound silly, but the thing that's been helping me the most with my color confidence is mixing up colors in my outfits. I've found a lot of color combinations that I really love just by pairing some crazy striped tights with a bright sweater, or something like that. I used to wear nothing but black, and my color choices in illustration were pretty boring, but I'm learning to spice it up a bit. Just my two cents!
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« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2010 06:54:07 AM »

Thanks!   Cheesy
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« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2010 09:54:53 AM »

This is a little late but I used to have the exact same problem.

I particularly love painting and drawing portraits, so what I do is think of color in terms of value and pretend it isn't so bright. Like if I do a temperature drawing I will start out with a pale yellow (kind of like a 2H graphite pencil) and work my way into oranges and reds. I prefer Prismacolors and Verithins for this type of thing but I also love the Derwent watercolor pencils because you can start to mix the colors. Try starting a drawing, doing the gestural sketching I mean, with bright colors and build upon them. You can always scrape away with an exacto knife later to get the excess wax off, or add white Prismacolor (or a white charcoal pencil) on top to tone down the shading. But messing up is fun because it teaches you what you're doing wrong and provides a framework for how to fix it.
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