Just what does that mean brave the color? There are lots of different approaches to answering this question. One could go several different directions with this query. An artist’s work is all about color. And I say here, sometimes. How you use it is expressing what you want to “say” in your piece. 


Color choice directly expresses the feeling and/or mood in your work. I posted a commentary before about the space of time between conception of an idea and the first brush stroke. This is the space color needs to be decided, again, not always. This is not to say the artist cannot change his/her mind midway because this could be done at any stage, depending on how much more work you want to make for yourself. 


What you do during this important time determines how the color is reflected from what you do to the canvas to prepare for painting. Artists who work wet on wet may have an image of color in their heads before they start, but their thinking is a little different direction than painting in stages. Color in an artwork can vary according to a lot of variables. 


Different cultural influences can determine the color an artist may use. Take a look at Mexican artwork how bright and undiluted the color is, almost pure right from the tube. This is the color style of that work. Then the case of not using much color at all. If your emphasis is on line, then you may want to give your artwork only a light glaze of color. 


Genre seems to have a bearing on color palette but not always. There is always that chance it may be different…no certainties here. This is one of the beauties of being an artist. Whatever you decide as you work on your piece is a go, it is your decision. There is no directive on the color, style, or persona of your work. 


Do you really have to be brave to add the color? Maybe, sometimes. For example, what if you want to paint a purple giraffe. No reason, just want a purple giraffe. If you want a purple giraffe paint it that way. You don’t have to justify or qualify your work to anyone. It is a freedom, a choice. How wonderful is this? It’s always my opinion if someone doesn’t like it they don’t have to look. Right? 


Second example: Give a thought for a moment to Pete Mondrian’s work. His later pieces were limited to the three primary colors, black, and white. His pieces were very geometrical, tight, and precise to the point of almost being sterile. Did this take courage for his time? Yes. Spontaneous color may be appropriate at times too. \


Look at Jackson Pollock’s work. Lots of color but added with a controlled chaos it was hard to find where one line began and one ended. Abstract expressionism was the title of this type of painting. Emphasis was on the expression not necessarily the color, but color played an important role in these also. 


Don’t let color scare you. Sometimes you have to brave it and just mix and mix until you “get it”. You may get a few piles of brown paint you can’t use, but the practice will be worth it. One thing decided in this commentary is there are no absolutes. Color is arbitrary the artist’s decision.

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