In January, I began a new canvas, Florbeza. It's based on a collage I finished in 2008. Yep, sometimes ideas take a long time to incubate. The challenge so far has been to keep enough variation and inventiveness within a restricted palette of yellow ochre, cadmium yellow, naples yello, burnt sienna, cadmium red and cobalt blue. I learned a lot from using these colors to create the effect of gold in a previous work called Heart of Gold.
I use photos as a reference for the coloration of the forms which include leaves, seeds, branches and other natural objects. At other times I simply wrestle with a combination of pigments until something works itself out. It's a lot like recording music. You have to rub out a few takes before you get what you want. In the image above you can see the colors are still unbalanced. The values are good but the brightness and tonality need work.
This image above gives you an idea of the level of detail. My experiments in color involve altering the sequence of colors as I layer them on top of each other. For instance, I might begin with a layer of burnt sienna, add a layer of yellow ochre and then complete high lights with naples yellow. Other times I might begin with a layer of ochre and then burnt sienna and finally naples yellow. You get the idea. Quantity of paint and linseed oil are other variables that have an impact on the outcome. This is all a part of figuring out what the internal logic of the painting will be. I am still groping for a methodology. When the painting is complete all these questions will be resolved - I hope!