Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Subtle Color, Past and Present

Simply Roses, 2012, 30 x 24

Back to the white roses again (I asked Michael for some white ones for Valentines' Day)!  I still really enjoy playing with pale tones on pale backgrounds -- think I'll try some stacked creamware next and then maybe some really pale skies and sand (am at the beach right now, so that's all around).

Over the past few years, I have been experimenting with pales.  By nature I tend to be a colorist, and after checking out the 32 little paintings pictured in my last post, one could see the colors abounding in most of them.  So the subtleties are a challenge for moi!  

The first group of three pales, done in 2011, are below:

Don't Tell, 2011, 36 x 36

Winter Roses, 16 x 12, 2011

Petite Surprise, 16 x 12, 2011

Looking through the 2010 painting files, I could only find one of the subtle ones.  On this dress, I resorted to outlines in various places to establish directional lines and for definition (you can see why, since there surely isn't much value range here; that's when a dark background comes in handy). When doing floral subject matter on pale ground, as above, the stems in clear vases add direction and the darker leaves help define form.

Tiny Dress, 2010, 30 x 24

In the 2009 files, I found this floral with pears to be among the palest, yet it has more color than those above.  I like it -- perhaps the underpainting of dark red unifies the background and defines the left flower, making a harmonious whole.

Table for Three, 2009, 24 x 24

Back in 2008, I did my first white roses, and there were LOTS of leaves, which are more clearly defined than recent ones.  Below the roses is my first white box with white ribbon from 2008.  It's fun to see old and new takes on a similar theme ... 

Camellia Leaves and Roses, 2008, 20 x 16

Surprise Me, 2008, 12 x 12


  1. I love these, Nancy. Each one stands alone, very powerful in paucity

  2. Each painting is beautiful in its own way. I am always so enchanted by the beauty of your paintings. Really lovely work.

    Thanks for showing the retrospective...I think I assumed you have always painted these lovely, pale works. I really like the reds in "Table for Three".

  3. I love the pale background and colors and would like to try out some of these too. But, I love all of your paintings!

  4. Wonderful blog post and enjoyed reading- I am such a fan and love your soft colors. I always say you have the most gorgeous colors and now I have a name for them. Love that- pales:) Your paintings are gorgeous and the thing that stands out is the always dynamic design composition and the stunning brushwork in the best mixed colors ever! Looking forward to the workshop next week:)

  5. Thanks for these great comments! Am looking forward to Chattanooga next weekend ...

  6. Nancy, your work is simply exquisite. I am in awe.

  7. Gosh, thank you Liz -- I love YOUR work!