We all have them, you know, those special memories?
At the time we didn’t think much about them, we were just kids, but over time after we’ve acquired a few wrinkles and come to realize there are more years behind us than before us, those special memories become cherished.
Oh, they don’t need to be monumental events, in fact, in most cases they’re not. They’re often just the simple joys of living…going to grandma and grandpa’s house, that first kiss, catching fireflies and putting them in a jar, walking to school, learning to tie our shoes, ride a bike, or jump rope…even falling asleep on daddy’s lap. They’re all cherished…now that we can look back.
My painting, Cherished Memories, captures some of that. It’s one of those beautiful, sunny autumn days. The birds are singing. With each passing day the leaves declare their beauty but eventually they abandon their place and gently fall to the ground. Neighborhood friends have come over to play. It’s a perfect day.
Writing about it and painting it are two different things. Now I can’t honestly say all these thoughts ran through my mind as I developed this painting. I had a general idea of where I wanted to go with it, but I seem to work best when I allow ideas to evolve and eventually become specific as I work through a piece. That’s why I like to do small color studies. It’s here that concepts, composition, values and color schemes can be tried and then accepted or rejected.
I’ve done two other versions of this theme over the years, and in each, selected a different composition and color scheme. The focus here was to press into the scene somewhat and really expand on the feeling of autumn. To do that I experimented with a number of color schemes. As you’ll notice, I took lots of liberties with the larger work, departing considerably from the color study above in terms of palette selection.
I will often select bits and pieces of the color wheel when selecting a palette for any given work. It helps keep things simple, greatly aiding in achieving color harmony.
For this painting I chose a red dominant color scheme. That means everything on the color wheel that contains red was put on the palette. Shown above is the red dominant palette used for this painting. All the mixtures are created from these primaries: ultramarine blue, cadmium red, and cadmium yellow light.
The colors set out on the palette, used for “Cherished Memories” looked like this. White has been added to the second row to help you distinguish differences between the darker colors.
Grays were achieved by mixing those colors farthest apart. For example, mixing blue violet with yellow orange will give some semblance of gray, especially when placed in the context of the painting.