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Artists have the ability to tap into the power of colors when they create a piece of art. Color plays a strong role in the way a work of art is perceived and experienced by the viewer. Certain colors can raise spirits while others can dampen moods. Some colors can invigorate and enliven while others can put people to sleep. How can artists use the power of colors to their advantage?
When you stand before your easel and blank canvas, you have a choice between using conventional colors in your painting to represent visible reality, or using unconventional color schemes to portray a subjective or internal reality. Conventional color schemes make sense if your objective is to accurately and faithfully paint the landscape or still life in front of you. However, if you choose an unconventional color scheme for your art, you have the opportunity to be expressive with your artwork. You can conjure emotions and elicit certain reactions from the viewer.
In this portrait painting by Picasso titled “Tete de Femme”, most of her flesh is a pasty white color, instead of the usual pinkish beige color of natural skin tones. Blue and light green brushstrokes form shadows on the face, while light red is used sparingly to create various accents. When you look at this portrait, how does it make you feel?
Picasso continues the blue theme throughout the artwork, painting a blue background that gradually shifts from pale blue to dark blue. He also mixes blue with the black of the figure’s hair. The predominance of blue in its many variations is one of the distinguishing features of this artwork. A painting such as this uses color creatively and purposefully to evoke an emotional response from the viewer.
The next time you make a painting, pay careful attention to the colors that you use. Consider how different color choices will affect the final painting and try to imagine the kind of impact that those colors will have on people who view your painting.