In the fall 2006 issue of Workshop magazine, verteran artist Betty Carr taught the fundamentals of light and color in the cool spring of France's Loire Valley and in a Scottsdale, Arizona studio. We offer an excerpt from the article explaining her basic painting principles.
by John A. Parks
- Format. Before beginning to paint a subject, decide on the proportion and size that will make the best composition.
- Overall color temperature. Is the overall color of the subject warm or cool? Does it have a distinctive color cast?
- Decide on an eye level. If you are looking straight out at a landscape this will be the horizon. If you are looking up or down, the eye level will have to be defined and remain constant while the painting is in progress.
- Light direction. Have a clear sense of the direction of the light. Maintain it consistently throughout the work.
- Masses. Find the major masses of light and dark in the subject matter. Begin by painting them, if possible simplifying areas into bold shapes.
- Temperature change. Look for changes in color temperature within shadows and across illuminated areas.
- Posture. Work standing up and get into the habit of holding your body in the best possible way for the kind of brushstroke you want to make.
- Edges. Pay close attention to the softness and hardness of edges.
- Perspective. In landscapes be aware that there may be a hidden or concealed perspective at play.
To read the feature article on this artist, check out the fall 2006 issue of Workshop magazine.