September 2, 2009

Color: Perceptual and Photographic

I thought I'd expand on the previous post about the underdrawing for Red Cone. When working on my paintings in the studio, I rely for color on the studies done outdoors directly from the motif. Each of us sees color in a very personal way; I remember discussing this years ago with a friend as we painted the same object: she saw the table as close to orange in color, while I saw ochre. All of us who use digital cameras are aware of white balance, where the choice of daylight or cloudy or the pre-set function can change color dramatically.

You can see from the painted study above that it is warmer in color than the photograph shot at the same time. I saw a yellowish hue in the curve of the lower part of the cone, and the darker orangey-reds at the sides are colored more dramatically than those in the photo. The blacks in the study have color variations not seen in the photo, with ochres enlivening the tonal form. Although I like the photograph as photograph, as source material for my painting it would be sorely lacking.

I should emphasize my painting, because for many painters using photographs is the point; they are interested in the way the media influence the way we see and how we comprehend the world. Coming from years of perceptual painting, my emphasis is still on how my own eyes and mind interpret the thing seen.

1 comment:

  1. this is an excellent sample for a meditation on the difference between camera and eye, a subject I happen to be fond of. i.e. the camera offers a passive interpretation, the eye an active one. the photographic surface is non-elastic, impenetrable - and intellectual rather than sensational. a photograph (good or bad) is always a completed surface... and so forth.