Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Fine Art of Seeing Color

This will take you over to eBay
We just completed the third weekend painting-on-location workshop at The Grand View Ranch and life is just settling down so that I can return to my painting and sending my observations of nature to you through my brush and this blog. The weekend was huge success, and many artists reported that they had breakthroughs in their art. You can read their comments at

I have never lived in a place that has so many different locations to paint just yards from each other. On the way from town to The Grand View Ranch there is a beautiful, peaceful place called Shasta meadow. This is just one of hundreds of meadows that dot the countryside here at Mt Shasta, and even though it is called Shasta meadow, the view that I painted for you today highlights the meadow with the Eddies in the background.

There is no special way to mix color and no special way to apply it on the canvas.
Just like a musician’s ear, the art of seeing color is sharpened through frequent practice.
Every artist sees and paints color differently, and after teaching thousands of artists how to master painting on location, I can say that color is so unique to the individual that just choosing to mix your palette your way is the beginning of developing your own style. I teach many secrets of mixing color in my workshops, and all of my students begin by using identical colors. However, each artist’s personal vision and use of color is so individual that by the end of the day, I can identify the creator of each painting by the distinct color palette that the artist used in his paintings.

The nerves of the eye become more sensitive to color the more you use them. Painting on location and NOT using photographs is the first step to master seeing color. The second step is to paint in both the lightest and darkest values first, and then compare every color that you apply after that to these values. And, the third step is to choose a color scheme. Ask yourself, “What am I looking at? Are the colors that I see predominately blue, or red, or yellow, and are they warm or cool?” Just asking some of these questions will start you on the right track to mastering the fine art of color before you even lay the first brush stroke down.

And remember, perfection leads to paralysis. You must begin creating and taking risks with your painting even if you think that you do not know something, or you won’t be powerful as an artist. Ansel Adams stated, “If I waited for everything in a scene to be exactly right, I’d probably never take a photograph.” The secret in fine art as in all of life is “Just do it.”

If you are interested in experiencing a breakthrough weekend that will take your art to the next level, visit our new website at, and you can download my free book where I share “Everything I know About Painting.”

I hope that we can build a community of artists that can share information with each other.

If you know of any artists that might appreciate being included, let them know about this blog.

I hope to offer more painting tips as this conversation continues.If you have questions that you would like me to answer, please don’t hesitate to email me anytime.

I welcome your feedback.


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