All of the paintings above have passages in them that might be described as 'orange.' However, the orange in each painting is different from the orange in the others. It can be soft, it can be intense; it can be yellow-orange, it can be orange-red. The English language is insufficient when it comes to color, which is why painting is important and can supersede written and spoken languages: with fluency, we can describe the myriad variations of our color experiences. There isn't much variety for describing 'orange' with words, but paintings can communicate an idea immediately. Space, distance, heat, light, mood, emotion, all at once.
When you look at a grouping of your work, do all of the colors tend to look the same? Do you use the same red for every mixture? Do you use one green for every tree and bush? Can you tell the different times of day in each painting? Do you feel the shallow depth of a few feet of space in a still life, or the great distance of many miles in a landscape? Do you get a sense of different surfaces? If you're not getting enough variety in your color, chances are you need to do three things:
1. Add More Colors to Your Palette. A limited palette is just that.
2. Paint Outside As Much As Possible. Studio light is good for it's consistency, but you won't develop an eye for variety if you don't paint outdoors.
3. Paint Every Kind of Light. Attune your eye to every kind of situation to develop subtlety. Don't just paint morning and sunset; paint midday, paint overcast, paint at night.
These are some of the important topics we cover in my painting workshops. If you are interested in learning more, check out my upcoming sessions in Workshop Listings.