Sunday, May 28, 2017

Master Study: Will Terry

Color, Contrast

Some rules for choosing color:

1.) Determine the temperature of the light before choosing your palette
2.) Choose your color palette from the new limited color wheel
3.) Don’t go outside of the range of colors except for an intended effect 

When I did my color study of this piece I was surprised by how off my first assessment of the colors were. For example, I originally thought for sure the base of the rocks were brown with a overlap of orange from the window and that the trees that frame the image were green. What I found though is that most of these assumptions were completely wrong and its only because of the mental association I have for these objects that these assumptions were made.

Will Terry determined the colors he wanted to use in his palette by looking first at the temperature of the sky color he wanted to convey and then building his colors off of that. When you do this you realize that there is no innate color within the object itself, instead it changes depending on the temperature of the light hitting it thus giving us a starting point for what colors we will use in the piece.

In the sky we can see he uses a light highly saturated blue for the sky that illuminates the horizon behind and above our characters and he uses this same spectrum of blue to render the forms of the castle/shell, the sky, the water, the foliage in the front and trees in the background. There is no pure white or pure black in this picture only light blue and dark blues, some crossing into purple and some crossing into greenish blue. The trees look greenish to me but in actuality they are a dark blue with less saturation then the night sky. In fact the only green he uses for the foliage is the highlights on the foliage in the front and on the castle/shell. 

He creates a couple of elements of contrast in this piece by contrasting the cool night light of the sky with the warm orange color of the shell of the turtle. We see the rocks below him are again a variation of blue with highlights that are orange and red depending on how far away they are from the shell's light source. The further away they are the redder the highlights get. This combination of the two colors gives us the impression of a brown color that isn't actually there. 

The exception he makes for effect here is clear, the red apple contrasts nicely with every other color in the limited palette. He makes sure to again use a purple or blue in the shadows of the apple to make it fit in with the lighting of the overall picture. The highlight, which originally looked white to me is actually orange so we get a nice gradation from one light source to the other within the apple itself. The highlight is orange, then we see the saturated red of the apple, followed up by dark blue and purple within the shadows to make it fit in with the other light source.  

I would say the rhythmic element in the picture are the lightning bugs that decorate the picture and move up and down and around the characters to add visual interest to the piece. The wavy foliage in the foreground of the picture is another element often repeated in Will Terry's work.

The emphasis here is where the highest amount of contrast is which is our central characters and specifically the turtle and the red apple. The turtles shell has a light which contrasts with the rest of the picture and the apple is within that same color range. The most amount of green within a picture is used on the turtle which contrasts against the green and is a sweet spot between the yellow-orange light source and the blue-green light source.

Pattern, Variety, Repetition
Will Terry uses a lot of the same long triangular shapes to draw foliage in this picture as he does in his other work. Sometimes its sharp such as in the foliage that pokes up from the ground around the turtle's shell or he uses wavy indirect foliage like in the foreground to suggest movement and add variety.

The rocks are another element of repetition and they also help in adding the visual depth that is  needed to differentiate between the foreground and mid ground here. They get bigger as they get closer to us and smaller as they move away but they never dominate the foreground of the picture. 

There are strong elements of contrast here with the warm and cool colors described above but also in the sharp edges of the foliage in the front in comparison to the soft edges of the background.

The picture is heavy on the left but is balanced out on the right side by the trees in the top right corner that create an interesting negative space around the apple and the butterfly. The foliage in the foreground also helps balance out the two sides of the picture. Without it the picture would feel uneven.

The only feeling of movement that I get from this picture is the foliage in the front which keeps us from looking off the page and the lightning bugs that dance around the image and illuminate the elements of the composition.

We see sharp and well defined edges in the foreground and mid ground that helps define the look of the piece. Again soft edges are meant to be a resting place for sharp edges in a painting and here this is no different. 

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