It’s a Sensitive Subject

Topics and ideas that tend to strike a chord and spark debate are often that way because they are so subjective. In art, color is definitely one of those sensitive subjects because no two people see a color in exactly the same way, nor do painters always mix colors identically to create similar end results. Usually, we all go along on our own and arrive at colors independently.

Collange la Rouge by Sherry Zvares Sanabria, acrylic painting on paper, 30 x 60.
Collange la Rouge by Sherry Zvares Sanabria, acrylic painting on paper, 30 x 60.
*Please note Sanabria died in 2014. This article was written before the time of her death.

Artist Sherry Zvares Sanabria is, however, one of those painters who I’d follow around making notes as she goes about her studio practice because I’d like to know exactly how she gets many of the colors in her acrylic painting work. Painting with acrylic on board, Sanabria creates interiors and old building facades that are very architecturally informed and filled with subtle variations of light, with every surface an understated but beautiful color.

Blue Chamber by Sherry Zvares Sanabria, acrylic painting on paper, 40 x 60.
Blue Chamber by Sherry Zvares Sanabria,
acrylic painting on paper, 40 x 60.

Painting with acrylics, Sanabria captures the richness of color-and that is usually ascribed as the domain of oil paints. But her skill in making color appear transparent and glowing shows she knows her chosen acrylic painting techniques very well. Her paints are loose, almost like watercolor washes. She doesn’t just go from tube to surface. Instead, Sanabria is really forceful when she applies paint, working it into the surface, rubbing it down with a cloth, and then going in again. She also doesn’t spend a lot of time building color on her palette away from the actual painting. Instead she does a lot of color mixing right on her surface.

To explore how vast and varied an acrylic painting palette can be and, more importantly, discover how to create all those hues for yourself, consider the Acrylic Artist’s Painting Bundle. Recommended by our editors, this collection is definitely worth a good, long look if you are striving for rich color and complex layering ability with acrylics and want to learn from the best artist-instructors in the medium. Enjoy!

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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

2 thoughts on “It’s a Sensitive Subject

  1. I call the colors rich, in texture, realness, and just eye-pleasing. It makes me want to be in the picture. It also makes me want to follow the artist around and learn all that I can from her.

  2. At first glance I had thought the “Collange la Roughe” was a photo. The artist truely captures the light and shadows with rich definition. Thanks for sharing.