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Aug 17, 2013

The Color of Purple...

Well, my annual Portland-area Plein Air Workshop is now over and we all had a great time together. This outdoor class was the local "day-trippers" edition I offer in my home area for the plein air enthusiast who might normally find the cost of a workshop plus the cost of travel and accommodations prohibitive.

We talked a lot about color.  We worked on color theory as it applies to color mixing, and how to perceive (and breakdown) a color into its three component parts. We learned that no color exists in a vacuum and that every color is relative to something else. We learned that colors do indeed have a warm or cool temperature. We also spent some time on basic oil painting techniques, and experimented with a few simple compositional ploys, and ultimately learned how to paint more quickly. Everyone went home tired each night – including myself – but exhilarated by all the hard work and eager to start anew the next morning.

Sometimes that is all we need. A little exhilaration to carry us forward into a new painting challenge. Sometimes we become so eager we forget to notice we've left our usual comfort zone and are now deep in uncharted territory. A good thing, in my opinion, and that is always my goal when I teach.

I just received a nice email tonight from one of this week's students about the color purple. It contained a bit of an inside joke because the weather conditions this week brought out the reddish blue you see in the distance around here on a cloudy day. So of course, I spent the week putting it into everyone paintings. On the last day, Friday, I needed to take a student back to his car because his battery had failed and while we were gone the rest of my students joked about painting their canvases completely purple before I came back. When they told me about it I laughed. Because it was funny.

But then I got this in an email today:
"Well, you've gone and done it--everywhere I look I'm seeing purple! And shapes and value shifts and warm and cool. Last night's well-deserved soak in the tub was prolonged because I couldn't stop staring at the chrome faucet."
Awesome. Keep looking at that faucet, Eve. And anything else you suddenly (and correctly) perceive is filled with color. 

Color is everywhere, purple or not.


If you would like to work on your outdoor plein air painting skills with me in Tuscany check out the upper left corner of this blog! I have a crew heading are off to Italy next May and you can come too. There are five spots left so don't wait!

Email me if you want more information. – TJK

2 reader comments:

Sergio Lopez said...

Haha. Did you squirt Dioxazine on everyone's palette and watch chaos ensue? ;)

Thomas Jefferson Kitts said...

Ha! Funny, Sergio.

Yes, a few of my students had Dioxazine on their palette. But few were using it.

If Phthalocyanine is the crack-cocaine of the plein air world then Dioxazine is the phthalo of the purples.

In any case, we all learned to 'jack the purps' during the week...(hee!)