Oil Paint Color Study

Newberry, Color Study 1, oil on canvas panel, 9x12"
Newberry, Oil Color Study 1, 9×12″, private collection.

I painted this color study last night watching the Dem debate, quite tricky in the sense of getting all the colors to “rest” on the surface, so there is no sunken or dead colors, and if I can bring it to the surface the color feels alive. I have a kind of magical touch in pastel but painting doesn’t come as easy to me, so this was a way of challenging my oil skills. In life and art I like celebrate my strengths and I always work on my weaknesses, a saying I believe in is that you are only as good as your weakest link. Raise your weakness to a strength and your confidence and inner strength become genuine.

Provence Art Experience Workshop, Luberon, September 7-16, 2020

Study Color and Light Theory with Michael Newberry

Newberry, Red Sand, oil on canvas, 9×12″. Though there are no red poppies in this painting, it was a very hot day in Florida in Ft Desoto, and I was sunburned, and sometimes I transfer that feeling into color. Regardless, you can see how the red starts as orange-red scarlet and shifts towards pink-violet patches as the color recedes towards the sea.

Excited thinking about what to teach for the Provence workshop Fall 2020. And I think it would be great to explore color and light theory based on space! When we paint for instance a field of red poppies, way too many people paint the red the same, and it pretty much kills rhythm, movement, and any chance to excite the eye (the eye needs difference no matter how minute). Van Gogh, was a champion of varying the color through space. So out of his playbook, going back to the red poppies, if you add more blue as they recede and more orange as they come forward, you create a dance of variations of red, that will delight the eye, excite the mind, and capture your spirit.

If you have any other suggestions shoot me an email, mtnewberry at gmail dot com.

Our first 2019 Workshop was incredible with our great host Mathieu Brousses. And the aesthetic theme of finding the shadows and bringing out the light proved to be a very successful lesson series.

For Fall 2020 we plan to use Luberon as our hub, discovering new places (though Mathieu will know them) and different time of the year. Samples of our possible itineraries:

Our host Mathieu Brousses

Some pics from last month’s workshop in Provence, May 2019.

From our teacher, Michael Newberry: I taught several plein air painting and pastel workshops in NY, Mexico, Greece, Santa Monica, Italy, and France. And I formally taught Life Drawing, Composition, and Painting at the prestigious Otis College of Art and Design. When I am not teaching you will find me painting in my cabin studio under the monumental granite outcrop of Tahquitz Rock in Idyllwild, California, accompanied by my studio assistant doggy, Frida. More info on my extensive bio here.

If you are interested in attending please contact me, mtnewberry@gmail.com or Mathieu at mathieu.brousses@gmail.com and we can plan accordingly and make a spectacular and meaningful experience happen.

Eye Excitement: Why Ruins?

Rickety Courtyard Gate, Rhodes, pastel on dark paper, private collection
Rickety Courtyard Gate, Rhodes, pastel on dark paper, private collection
Rickety Courtyard Gate, Rhodes, pastel on dark paper, private collection

I have noticed lots of artists including myself are drawn into drawing abandoned places, scruffy landscapes, weathered shacks, and stone ruins. While a manicured lawn or polished mahogany conference table inspire a blau reaction. There is something visually exciting about the chaos of ruins but what is it that is triggering our vision? And why are paintings or drawings so boring when they are of pristine subjects? Vision scientists Jan Koenderink and Andrea van Doorn (a link to their abstract on pictorial space) talked with me over beers in Glasgow pub about how the eye goes blind if it cannot move about and compare and contrast tones and hues. Using my artist’s logic it makes sense that on the opposite end of the spectrum the eye becomes excited when each hue and tone is varied. My pastel of a rickety courtyard gate in Rhodes, Greece illustrates this.

Notice the gate is drawn with all kinds of unrepeated colors. The plastered gold side of the wall has countless hues ochre, and medieval stones are equally varied with its shifts between brown and gray. It seems like a lot to try to do in a 50-minute drawing, but I was helped along by all the setting’s details were all extremely varied. If you are an artist looking for something interesting to draw look for differences in everything. That will keep your eye busy and excited and the viewers’ too.

Michael Newberry

Synergy

Newberry Synergy oil painting

Newberry Synergy oil paintingSynergy
oil on linen, 82 x 66 inches, studio inventory.

Laying down in a closed, dark, tiled space, too young to understand, too inexperienced to sort through feelings, and in too much pain to be aware of the world around him, the ten year old had no choice but to examine everything–or face oblivion. Deep inside him surfaced a feeling of goodness. That feeling would ultimately anchor him to life and earth.

Continue reading “Synergy”

Colors of Light and Shadow

Light and shadow are two of the most challenging problems facing a painter. Painters can’t harness real light and shadow; instead they must rely on subtle gradations of color to create the illusion.

rembrandtself.jpg
Rembrandt, Self-Portrait, 1634. Galleria degli Uffizi

In general, I use “light” in painting to mean all those areas which are directly lit by a light source.  For example, in this Rembrandt self-portrait most of his face, the glow behind him, some of his hair, and the front of his coat are in the light. The “shadows” are all those areas which fall outside of the light. To demonstrate the division between light and shadow, I cut and pasted squares of color taken from this painting, and divided them into two groups below.

 

Continue reading “Colors of Light and Shadow”

Transparency – A Key to Spatial Depth in Painting Part 2, Color

Transparency – A Key to Spatial Depth in Painting
Part 2, Color

This online tutorial is a transcription from a 2002 lecture I gave at the Courage of Your Perceptions Conference (Satellite to the EC’s Vision Scientists’ Conference) in Glasgow, Scotland.Given a two-dimensional surface, transparency and contrast are a means to place identities/forms through spatial depth.

In Part 1 I discussed how this theory works with gray tonal scales and in paintings with limited color range.  Let’s see what happens when we introduce intense colors.

 

colorwheel.JPG

It’s important to note that contrast in color is not so much about light and dark but, rather, it is about color opposites. For example here is a classic color wheel in which opposite colors, also known as complimentary colors, are juxtaposed. Three major contrasts are:
Red vs. Green
Blue vs. Orange
Yellow vs. Violet

Continue reading “Transparency – A Key to Spatial Depth in Painting Part 2, Color”

Integration, Part 2: Color

Newberry, Counterpose contrast

Integration, Part 2: Color by Michael Newberry

Newberry, Counterpose demo

Newberry, Counterpose, 1990, oil on linen, 36×42″

In the tutorial, Integration of Light, Part 1, I mentioned that the theme of Counterpose is about a harmony of contrast. I showed how I painted extreme contrasts in light and dark. In this tutorial, I am showing how, keeping to the theme of contrast, I painted extremes of color contrasts.

Continue reading “Integration, Part 2: Color”