Failure Friday - This Color Theory Never Fails
"If you're feeling blue ~ try painting yourself a different color." Hannah Cheatem age 8
I think the above quote by Hannah Cheatem is perfect for understanding the progression of this pastel portrait. Especially when applied in its most literal form. This portrait started during a typical day in my studio with Ivy. We were exploring the use of toned paper and soft pastels. I was at my easel using a monochromatic color palette of blue and white telling myself I needed to focus on my portrait drawing skills. Ivy was working on her own portrait.
When I finally turned to look at her and her progress I was a bit stunned and said "Oh my goodness!" She clearly had not stayed within safety zone of a monochromatic palette. Instead he had chosen to explore a richly saturated palette of color ranging from the blue/green undertones of the skin to the multiple shades of green/gold of the eyes. There were interesting marks of reds, and salmons and oranges placed throughout the piece causing your eye to roam yet return to the beautiful face.
That day in the studio was just one of the many wake-up prompts I receive from being part of a vast community of artists. My initial response to Ivy was to laugh out loud both from the delight of seeing what she had done but also because of the excitement I felt when seeing the obvious potential of what is possible if I move past my tentative approach and let go of my fears. The Failure Friday lesson is for me to remember it is just paper, that there are no mistakes, just exploration and experimentation. Challenging my cautious artist self to be more bold, daring and exploratory will be more effective for bringing on growth than getting lost in the shape of a perfect nose!
Later that night I continued with my very blue portrait and placed the brightest orange I could find around the head and to the cheeks. I asked myself about the gender and knew I had inadvertently created a male as a direct result of being overly exacting in my approach to the proportions of the head in the initial sketch. So I became intentional by adding hair and softening some of the features ultimately changing him from Mr. Jack Leopold to Jacqueline Leona Padroni :)