It’s All About How You Mix Colors & Interpret the Details
Sometimes it is difficult to put aside real-world stresses and tasks when it comes time to pursue our art. To-do lists, family matters, and social obligations crowd in, making it almost impossible to concentrate. One of the ways I clear my head is to really sink into my subject matter, spending time on close studies in which detail is key. I mix colors of everything I see to inspire me later. Even if I don’t exactingly recreate everything in front of me, I still tend to focus really hard, and that helps quiet all the clamoring in my head.
The Work Comes Alive with Color
Concentration and close attention to detail can lead to the kind of connection artists need to make their work come alive. Artist Mark Haworth describes the seasons’ changes over the Texas landscape in such a way that his close awareness of the place is apparent. “In the springtime here in the Texas Hill Country we get magnificent wildflowers—called bluebonnets—that cover the countryside and, from a distance, look like a blanket of blue,” Haworth says.
“The sight of these flowers is always the first sure sign of spring, an indication that the thunderstorms earlier in the season washed away the winter grays into life-filled color. In this painting, I captured the first of the bluebonnets’ arrival using a more intense palette than I usually do, in an effort to convey the sense of growth and renewal inherent in spring.”
I’m inspired by Haworth’s way of working: he is drawn to a minute change in the landscape and lets that sink in. He then finds a way to convey the excitement of the moment through color. But he doesn’t rest there. He pushes color. Upping the intensity of the blue of the flowers, for instance. From there, the power of the work unfolds.
The Work Comes Alive with Detail
Haworth also does a commendable job of absorbing detail and depicting detail–but not overwhelming his paintings with detail. His painting of a rock bed swirling with river water could easily have become a distracting, eye-crossing hodgepodge of color. But it’s not! He chooses to establish detail through color and form and through variance of both. The rocks sit like gems–glowing with color and light–and the uniqueness of each is showcased. Mother Nature would be so proud!
Haworth inspires me with his close study and love of the land. This proves to me that any landscape painting composition or work of art comes alive easily when an artist gives herself permission to notice the details and give the subject matter the attention it is due. Favorite instructor Johannes Vloothuis is sure to do the same in the upcoming Paint Along: Make Color Sing — Color & Value Lessons for Landscape Painting. Sign up now and enjoy!