Some Guy’s Epiphany

A while back I was thumbing through an art magazine and ran across an article some guy (I don’t remember who it was) had written about an epiphany he had just had about making a painting more  interesting by using a small bit of bright, not necessarily pure, color surrounded by a lot of grayed color. He was wondering how this idea had eluded him for so long. His muse had finally given in and the light came shining through. He suggested a few ways to mix and gray a color.

1.   Mix a color with it’s compliment.

2.   Add white and or black.

3.   Add some of your  junk paint from your palette. (Richard Schmid would cringe)

4.   Mix or buy a gray and add this to the mix.

Well this didn’t fall through the grate to the alligators. It stuck and I’ve been thinking about it since.

12x24 oil on canvas

This is the result. I’d hoped to see just how gray I could make a bunch of color and get away with it. It’s a pretty good start but I don’t think I’ve  pushed it as far as it’ll go. Not yet. One thing for sure the concept is a good one to knock around. It’s a bit different for me since I’ve always been more concerned with light than color.

I looked for quite a while before finding reference material that would lend itself to the idea and it’s a little bit of a backward process for me. Normally I find a subject then decide how I’m going to deal with it. Deciding the concept first then finding subject matter helped me keep things in focus and moving in the right direction.

G-Night everyone’



16 Responses to “Some Guy’s Epiphany”

  1. Hi Eldon,
    wow. I like it — especially because the bright colour is red! One of my favorites.

    Take care,


    • Somehow I probably would have guessed red to be one of your favorites. It fits the energy and enthusiasm you have. Thanks, I’m happy you like this one. We’re shootin for more gray next time.cross your fingers.

  2. Karen LaValley Says:

    I really enjoy this painting Eldon. The atmospheric quality is excellent. Makes me feel the location. Love the red truck accent.

  3. Thanks Karen, glad you like it. How are things going for you? Are you about ready to send me a few images for my blog? Just let me know. 🙂

  4. Very nice! The bits of brilliant green in the foreground seem to make the red ‘pop’ more, even though the colors are not adjacent. I like that kind of misty, grayed down feel, which makes the bright colors even more so.

    • Thanks aRT, nice to meet you. And you’re from right here in Denver. Love your blog and your work. Hope you don’t mind I bookmarked you so I can check in once in a while and see what’s up. Feel free to come around any time. If you’d like to be put on the email list just let me know.

  5. Hey Eldon – I love that painting- the red truck sure does get your attention doesn’t it? I’ve heard the grey color/ spot of pure color idea before but forgotten about it- it makes so much sense- especially in sunsets. It sure worked well with this painting.

    • Hi Sue, Thanks. Yes it does get your attention. I’m working on a couple of other ideas worked around the same idea and want to see if I can go even further with it. Cross your fingers.

  6. Eldon, This is really nice. I love your atmospheric trees on the left, and your fence and truck are great. I always shy away from gray, but this concept is worth remembering. Thanks!

    • Hi Cynthia! Good to hear from you. Thanks, glad you like it. Working out the concept thing was fun but what I enjoyed most was making an old Chevy truck look like an old Chevy truck. Funny what we get caught up in when we paint huh?

  7. LOve it!! A new direction

    • Hi Trixie!! Thanks for dropping in and leaving a note. Yep! A new direction. I told Debra this is probably going to be my “gray” period” . 🙂 I’ll do a few pieces and incorporate the idea into my work in a natural way and in general the work will be like it was before with a subtle difference in my use of color. It’s the way my work seems to evolve. Say hey to John.
      Miss ya, love ya!!

  8. Great one again Eldon. Even your white building is greyed yest still reads as a white building.
    Taking what you read and translating it into a successful piece is exactly what you’ve done again.

    Good bit of info too on how to make a color stand out.
    I had once read on Frank Gardners blog that he will use neutrals next to pure color to appear as sunlit.

    Just as the 26 letters of the alphabet make endless words, so do a handful of colors make individual paintings.
    It’s all in how you use them.

    And isn’t that the tricky part!
    PS- and thanks for leaving your lovely comments on the last few posts.

    • Hi Bonnie,Thank you. It’s always nice to here from you. I think I’ll look up the Frank Gardner web site (if there is one) and see if I can find a blog. I like the idea of the neutrals next to a pure color. I’d like to study the idea a little bit and see what gets on a canvas as a result. I’m becoming more interested in color lately after such a long time thinking more about value and light.

      You’re right too, sometimes it gets tricky but from what I see on your blog you’ve get tricky down pat. I’d love to watch you paint sometime.

  9. Hey, Eldon

    Love the painting and the colors. Color is always what catches my eye first, so that is why I have so much trouble with values. And the truck is especially nice!

    Are you going to be in the Art Show? Oct. 9-10. We will need your stuff by Oct. 5 if possible…And do you want to do a demo? This concept would be a good one to show, don’t you think?

    Do you need a phone number to call me?

    • Hi Nancy, good to hear from ya! Yes, I think we’ll be able to be down for the Sat. portion of the show. I’ll send you an email to let you know. It’ll be fun!

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