One of the things I learned from being at Art Makers Denver this month is that I love exploring how different combinations of colors can work together to create a sense of space in a painting. I often look at the work of Wolf Kahn for color inspiration. I also admire how he simplifies the shapes in his work and yet still conveys a sense of atmosphere and being in a specific place.
I worked on these gouache studies today with a big brush and a small thumbnail because I wanted to see how Kahn constructed these paintings. I noticed that these colors work because they alternate warm and cool, saturated and muted. The color schemes are simple: color complements or analogous colors.I also noticed that the brush strokes create a texture that conveys a sense of space.
Less is more.
This was a good reminder that what makes a good painting is a good design. I admire painters who can make amazing illusions or tell complex stories with their detailed paintings. But sometimes I just want to make at a painting and just feel good looking at it.
Looking at these Wolf Kahn paintings makes me feel calm and quiet even though I know that the sky wasn't really pink or the ground wasn't really turquoise. I want to find some way to evoke a similar sense of awe and atmosphere in my own work. I think I need to simplify the shapes in my paintings even more and experiment with using hue, saturation and value with my colors.