Sunday, June 11, 2017

Master Study: Craig Mullins

Color, Contrast
Going back to what was stated in the previous post:

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 

From that one can tell that the temperature of this piece is that of a warm afternoon. He blocks the focal point in with the ray of sun cutting across the painting diagonally. The contrast of shadows making sure our eyes rest on the chief Mayan standing above the crowd.  The contrast hits at all points: The contrast of  light and dark and the scale of the individual person and the mob below.

His colors are for almost the entire piece red, orange, and yellow. The color of the masses is a pale yellow color with sprinkles of different colors to give dimension to the volume of people it is suggesting. The buildings themselves are orange and with the shadows cast by the suns rays fall into brown and dark reds giving the shadows the same warmth as the reds and oranges that make up the rest of the piece.

He of course then makes the exception to this palette of colors on his focal point by adding saturated yellow, red, blue and green to his outfit. I also noticed he uses a highly saturated red for the bounce light along his arms and torso.

He uses the back of the heads of the figures repetitiously to show scale when he moves us closer and further away from the focal point from the foreground. I say heads because this is the only thing he can describe as he gets further away on the left hand side to the bottom of the pyramids steps.
They also move up to the focal point in a pattern: Left, right, left, right, left.

Emphasis and Repetition
The emphasis here is the chief over looking the crowd below them and both are emphasized in contrasting ways. The most saturated colors can be found in this top right hand side of the painting. This includes the headdress he is wearing obviously but also the saturated orange of the pyramid structure in the background. Below him barely noticeable on the left side of the stone wall he stands on is also the only other saturated greens and yellows in the piece. His whole gesture and detail on him and the clothing make him the focal point.

The crowd is emphasized in exactly the opposite way.  He makes it believable that the mass of dots is a crowd by his use of dots for heads that become smaller and smaller the further away he moves from the foreground and he does this gradually on the left side of the piece.

I feel like this piece is well balanced by having both extremes juxtaposed next to one another like this gives us a awesome sense of scale and space. The large figures in the foreground next to the huge mass of people made up individually of small dots gives a very dramatic and dynamic feel to the painting.

Your eye should move from the civilians head in the foreground to the conquistador, to the Indian, then to the next conquistador and then to the focal point. After this he uses the same first head as a second read to lead you down the left hand side. He just doesn't put someone as close as the conquistador on his left side, otherwise both passages might be competing for your attention. Instead on the left side there is a break before we see silhouettes of people further down the steps.

He uses soft edges on the feathers of the headdress of the first Indian in our view for one. But the biggest use of soft edges in this piece is the shadow shape that stretches over the crowd on the top left of the page. The shadow diffuses softly across the crowd and gives it the feel that the volume of people he is suggesting is really there.

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