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Some Thoughts on Color in Oil Painting

MARCH 11TH, 2024

Painting of Clown
"Kryztal as Pennywise" 12in x 10in oil on linen, mounted to gator board. On display at duCret Center of Art, Solo Show "To See is To Feel" (Oct. 2023 - March 2024) Sold to a private individual.

Most of the time when I paint, color is light – or rather color is a reaction to the light situation present at that moment. I often go through periods of favoring a color over others – I’m going through a green period right now. However when I need inspiration I look at Richard Schmid’s book on Alla Prima painting where his color charts and specificity of color always inspires me. In my work, color tends to come from observation, either from the exact color or from the way the light hits the object, person, or landscape. Sometimes I do take color inspiration from the paintings of Joaquin Sorolla (the Spanish Painter of Light) – his color choices for the paintings of Valencia are lush, high chroma and beautifully painted. Sometimes, when you truly look into the color that these paintings are made up of, there is usually an unbelievable amount of grays (purples, blues, browns all mixed with other colors to make grays that ultimately give the painting so much life).

I have a set palette that I tend to stick to when it comes to making a painting. However, just because I use the same tube colors doesn’t mean that the combinations or quantities are always the same. After having laid out my consistent colors, this is when I begin to actually mix on the pallet. I usually don’t premix all my colors but rather I’ll have little piles of three or four mixed colors and then I’ll just mix as I go, usually with the brush itself instead of a pallet knife. When organizing my palette I do have a system which tends to go by values from left to right (white, yellows, greens, earth tones, reds, purples, blues, black). Sometimes the palette will change slightly depending on the subject, like lets say a specific subject really calls for crimson red (a color that is no longer on my palette) if I believe this is the only color that will satisfy this need I will add as necessary but generally it stays consistent. Sometimes my color conforms to traditional norms, but in recent works I’ve been exploring wilder color choices. 


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