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Friday, December 24, 2010

Color Schemes

Frequently when taking art classes the instructor will discuss color schemes in your art.  Monotonic, Complementary, Adjacent, and Triad color schemes are those most frequently discussed.  Even though this is common knowledge I find I need to be reminded regularly or I drift off course, using too many colors to have good color harmony in my work.

I recently learned about a website called "Color Scheme Designer" that is intended for web designers, but can be quite useful to painters as well.  You can plan not only with the color schemes mentioned above but also Tetrad and Accented Analogic.  While playing on this site I discovered I had used a Tetrad design in one of my most successful paintings this year.  See if you agree?

For future reference I have added Color Scheme Designer to my links.

To view other posts on color schemes check:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010 Exhibit at Johns Hopkins University, Montgomery County

I have two paintings, based on my travels to Guatemala, on exhibit in this Laurel Art Guild exhibit at Johns Hopkins University, Montgomery County.  I just love the native clothing worn by the women in Guatemala.  My work tries to bring these women to life.  The pieces in this exhibit show a girl relaxing before her day at the market and a contemplative age-worn women waiting outside her church.  I hope you get to enjoy this exhibition which runs until January 17, 2011.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Guatemalan Girl": Never Stop Experimenting

Guatemalan Girl
This painting was done on nine 5" by 5" Aquabord that were 2" deep. Normally I work on either cold press or hot press paper using a lot of wet-into-wet techniques, so this was my first experiment with Aquabord. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I could blend colors on this medium.

My decision to use nine segments for this painting required me to design the piece taking into account the 1/4" gaps between the Aquabords. I wanted to make sure that each segment of the painting was an interesting painting of its own. That made placement of the girl critical and the abstraction of the patterns in her clothing important to ensure the viewer's eye continues to move through the entire piece.

Knowing galleries would not want to deal with hanging 9 separate pieces, I attached these to a piece of Plexiglas and drilled a hole in the Plexiglas for hanging.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Out of the Sun",26.6" X 27.5" fluid acrylic and watercolor - SOLD

Out of the Sun by April M Rimpo

Out of the Sun was inspired by the wonderful architecture in Antigua, Guatemala and the affects of the sun shining through the pillars and archways.  This painting captures the mood of the people relaxing in the shade, the great patterns created by the sun, the glow of reflected light on the inside of the pillars, and the halos that surrounded the people about to emerge from the shade at the end of the walkway. 

I created this painting using a combination of fluid acrylic and watercolor on hot press paper.  I love the texture I can create using fluid acrylics and the great blends of colors possible with watercolor.  This painting was awarded second place at a Baltimore Watercolor Society exhibit at Kentlands Mansion in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Painting for a themed exhibit

Normally I paint based upon inspiring things I have seen or places I have visited. I have thousands of photographs I have taken that I combine and morth to recreate a feeling I experienced or a vision that I think will draw others into my work. Lately I have decided to enter some socially themed exhibits and have found this way outside my comfort zone. Instead of starting with inspiration I start with someone elses concept and try to find something I share that fits the theme.

This feels much like being in school trying to answer an assignment; not something that makes the juices flow. Often I abandon the exhibit when nothing comes. Sometimes I can play around with ideas long enough until something that does inspire me finally arrives. Do you have techniques you use for these themed exhibits?

"Celebrate" (shown below) is the final work I created in response to the "Cupcakes for Claudia" exhibit in support of the courageous journeys of those coping with cancer.  The reception for the exhibit will be held on April 16th, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Self Critique

You have no doubt read or heard about many approaches to critiquing your own work. Some include looking at the painting in a mirror, standing at a distance, putting the piece away and looking at it in a few weeks. All of these are attempts to have you look at your art in a more objective fashion. They can also force you to stop painting to assess, which may save you from overworking, a big danger for those of us who work in watercolor.

I have found that photographing my work as I go is a tremendous help to me. I generally photograph after each painting session on larger works. Writing down your thoughts about what you see in the photograph is also very helpful in forcing you to be objective. I note what I like and what is not quite working. This approach seems to help me see where I need to increase or decrease value changes or adjust the color. I am always surprised when I look at my photographed work, sometimes in a positive way and sometimes not. Either way I know I end up with a better painting in the end. This approach may help you; give it a try.

Here is a sample self-critique: Heading to Market (Comalaca, Guatemala)
I loved the soft shading I had achieved in the photograph taken in Comalaca. Because I was not feeling
well and wanted to rest, I had stayed on the bus while everyone else went into the market. After I
started to feel better I spent some time photographing Guatemalans as the went to and returned from
the market. I was sitting in the bus taking photos through the windows, but I was interested in natural
gestures and body shapes in these photographs, not posed vacation photos. This photo, like many of the
others I took that day, were rather out of focus and distorted because of the bus windows, which were
far from clean, but I found this actually helped me be more creative in my painting.
I wanted to achieve a soft edged painting, which meant I had to work very wet‐into‐wet to allow edges
to blend into the next shape. Although I spent a moderate amount of time deciding how to place
the woman in the frame of the painting to make an interesting scene, I also decided to play with new pigments that I thought would granulate and make interesting soft textures. 
I had just gotten some paint from Daniel Smith, including free tubes I had never tried before, so I had to
experiment to see how each behaved. I tested which granulated and which were opaque. The colors I
chose to use in the watercolor painting are listed here. The colors I used the most were:
  • DS French Ochre
  • DS Roasted French Ochre
  • Holbein Manganese Blue
  • DS Cobalt Blue
  • DS French Ultramarine
  • DS Ultramarine Turquoise( in the sweater)
For her face I used:
  • DS Deep Scarlet (the very lights skin tones (like in her hand – I used only this pigment with great deal of water to make it very light)
  • Holbein Manganese Blue (in the most shaded areas where I wanted the blue granulation)
  • DS Rich Green Gold (in the highlights on her cheek and chin)
  • A very small amount of the following colors were used as very pale washes to add pale tints of color.
  • Rose of Ultramarine 
  • Phthalo Blue
In the far background I used some Vivianite Genuine, however I felt I got better grays mixing my own so I did not use this in the balance of the painting. This is a lot more pigments than I normally use, but I felt they allowed me to get some great variations that I wanted in this painting.

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