I do love to mix colours. It is my favorite thing to do. I am thankful that I have had a keen sense of colour. It is usually a challenging task as there are so many choices to make and determining what colour(s) is missing.
A colour is one thing on its own, and then there is the fact of how an acrylic colour changes when it dries. Then there is using the same colour on two sides of the icon (or canvas) and it looks like two different colours, in relationship to the other colours next to it.
Deciding on the base colours (and combinations of) for a piece often requires tweaking; too bright, not bright enough, too cool, too hot, a blue looks grey, or green, a colour looks dead next to the other base colours, etc. And as any legitimate artist will attest, white and black rarely factor in as these with make a colour muddy. I did have someone who said they had taken post secondary art courses for awhile, and advised me to use white and black to brighten or mute a colour! Ummm! No!
For example, I wasn't happy with a starting colour tonight which was an orangy red ( almost a Cadmium Red Light ). It looked too orange against the other Phthalo Green colour. Adding a darker Cadmium red corrected the orange but turned it too much to red and still not dark enough. So I added some Burnt Sienna to darken it and to add some red brown to it. It still was looking too red against the Phthalo Green so I added a bit of Cadmium Orange which did the trick. Now, how to describe the final colour... a coral/redish brown? Thankful that I don't have to give a precise name for it, it just works. But no white or black anywhere.
I will use some white to create lighter tint of a colour but never just white alone. I will always add another colour if I want to gradually work to cooler, warmer, pinker, bluer, as I go along. For darkening a shade of a colour, I will very rarely use black. Depending on the colour, I will use Burnt Umber for warm colours, Raw Umber for cool, but my all time favourite is Anthraquinone Blue. I generally avoid black in my iconography as it generally represents an absence of God's Light. What will seem black in my icons is anything from the Anthraquinone Blue, a dark Violet, a dark green or blue, a dark grey etc. They will vary depending the other colour(s) they are with. The same goes for white as highlights. Most often the highlights are very light pinks, blue, etc. but appear as white in relation to the other colours.
And there's the whole problem of mixing greys!! A tricky colour. Some of the challenges stem from the black being used as many commercial paints can have any number and ratios of colours mixed into them. It can make for surprises when you add it to colours or to white. Many will be variations of a warmer black (brown black) versus a blue black which is easier to control.
I've completed a smaller gift icon commission, which is being shipped out tomorrow. As I return to the Journeying With The Totems series, with the Port Moody Arts Centre show in mind, I am also discussing a few other gift icons which I could do as well. Got to keep that roof over my son and I's heads and food on the table.
I'm still feeling heavy hearted about not being able to afford the big ArtVancouver which opens on the 21st. The timing was perfect in keeping the momentum going on the series. But it was just not meant to be.
I felt that 2 comments received after purchasers receiving their paintings pointed to how website photos just don't do justice to the real thing.
- "MY GOD!!! Is it beautiful! We loved the picture on your website, but that doesn't come close to the real thing! We're so happy that we chose this painting, it's far more beautiful than we could imagine."
- "The internet photos do not do it justice- absolutely breath-taking- can't take my eye off of it!"
I went through the photoshoot from the closing day of the Parksville exhibition in March and re-created jpegs with a more transparent watermark. It improves the quality of the totem painting pictures to give a better visualization for anymore considering any piece(s).
Thank you all for your support.
I'm half way through a smaller icon gift commission, and my mind is returning back to planning my next step with the series of the totem paintings and time to move forward from the fact that I couldn't come up with the fee to show the series at Art Vancouver (which opens May 21st).
I have 2 paintings that had been started, including the smaller one which I had started during the final week of the Silk Purse exhibition. But having been away from the series for the last 2 months, while completing the large Centenary Icon for the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, I'm thinking that it would be best to begin a new painting as my way to get back into the flow and style that I've developed for the totems.
So having done the gold leafing on the icon, while it needs a few days to set before i can continue, this is a good time to review my library of images and select which study (and size of canvas) I will do next. My easels are ready, and I've stored the easel (which I designed and built for the large icon commission) behind my bedroom door. Three months to the next exhibition at the Port Moody Arts Centre.
I am pleased to share that the Grizzly #1 and Brown Bear have gone to their new homes. The Grizzly #1 painting has arrived in Winnipeg and the Brown Bear is on route to its home in North Vancouver.
From the two exhibitions (West Vancouver and Parksville), these three paintings went to their new homes also. The Child/Cub Totem painting and Raven/Eagle painting went to two individual homes in West Vancouver and the Thunderbird took up residence in Parksville.
Andre Prevost, began his work in theatre in the late 70s after completing his studies at the Banff School of Fine Arts, and in his iconography in 1980, and having a large body of work in each. He has since been based in Western Canada; North Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and now back on the West Coast.