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Journal sielwolf's Journal: Retarded 5

10/24/2006 Simulated Annealing

It's whatever you say it is. Finished this up today. Total execution time: 3.5 hours spread over two weeks? Two classes anyway. Bear with the picture. I was shooting it at night in my kitchen. Like I mentioned before we where working in an OpArt project to get a handle on the fundaments of color theory. I think this piece illustrates the main thrusts of it. Mostly that abstract art is no less about technique or talent than realism. The focus is all that has really changed. And this gives you a better sense of color theory than hearing 'complementary', 'adjacent', 'balance' and all of that. Here we see that color is often just as much about shade and temperature than tone.

I mostly lucked into it. In the examples we looked last week one piece did an interesting transition over about half of the RYB color wheel. What I liked was that the piece had two primary colors, and two secondary colors which where compliments. I just thought of rotating it and seeing the effect.

So I came up with my scheme: two gradients that overlapped. One Violet->Red->Orange. The other YellowOrange over the Orange->Red seems to even cause the air to appear distorted by the heat.

The imperfect transition also adds to the effect. Like a lot of painting that was luck: I didn't mask the image so I was filling in my grids by hand. So up close you can see the imperfections in the coloring. The lines aren't straight. But that sort of frustrates the eye: we don't get the expected smooth transition. So we get this wierd uneven heating sensation.

Taking the above picture I had to find a way of displaying it so that there was no direct light. Why? Because I didn't want any false lens flashes. That one in the upper right? It's painted that way. I decided to have the Orange tint higher. Yeah, it was a break from the pure color theory of the above, but it also counterwieghs the lower left. While Violet is very dark and the Yellow very bright, you don't have that with the Orange and Red. Orange and Red are more medium bright. More towards the upper-right middle do you see how the two full tones of Orange and Red interact. So I thought it would be interesting to even out the contrast and match the Orange to the Yellow by making a lighter Orange. By doing so we get the feeling of a spotlight falling on that part of the grate and the background falling into a shadow of Red.

Like I said before I should have masked off what I painted. I made a template today but the paint would bleed under it. So the lines are uneven, the mixing poor. Trying to solve the problem by cutting it with water only made for washes instead of prolonging the acrylic. Next time I'll need to get some retarder to allow me to work the colors more fully. If I was sure I was going to mask off the grate and then paint the background, I should have just painted all of the background, mask over it, throw down a coat of white (to neutralize the background to paint on) and then do the squares. I need to do another. I'll probably do that then. Of course I'll be using a different scheme. I was thinking more earth or wood tones.

Whatever. It is just an exercise about feeling out the relationships of the color. The weakness is in the smooth transitions of color. I need to work quicker, get the paint to work together instead of dealing with unappetitizing thin dry coats.

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  • yeah, they dry really quickly. but you can use mediums that extend the drying time and/or make it flow more. to fit in with your JE title, the former are called retarders. you might be able to accomplish your goals on technique alone, but i thought i'd mention it in case you wanted to use different tools.

    i never liked taping things off either, but if you want my advice on it i'm happy to pass on what i've got. taping things off reminds me of one of my painting teachers who hated matisse but loved frank
  • and I like explanations about art by it's creators. It's interesting to me to form my own opinions on a work and then hear more about it. Like director's commentaries on DVDs.

    Thanks for taking the time to write up the process, both mental and physical.

    For the record, I like it, but I like much of your art, so it should be no surprise. :)
    • No problem. I've talked before how I think there is a subtle difference between critique and criticism (that the former is somehow a less harsh version of the latter). Being a skientist I think that the most objective form of the critical process is analysis. I like to say I 'analyze' my work because, being selfish, I'd like to study what I liked (so I could continue or perfect it) and what I didn't (so I wouldn't make the same mistake again). Of course if you use analyze too much it sounds like you're

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