I'm fortunate to have a nice front porch to sit on in the good weather and enjoy the day. One morning I was frustrated with a painting I was working on because I couldn't get the right green mixed. I was also having problems between the colors I mixed. Nothing was going right. I know I have at least three tubes of various green oil paint in my drawer I could use at any time instead of mixing a green. But one of the things that drives me as an artist is the challenge.
I decided to limit my pallet last year to four colors and a white. The colors are Alizarin Chrimson, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Umber and Titanium White. I didn't stay with that very long because I needed to add Cerulean Blue for certain greens and other mixtures. That seemed to work just fine. I learned to mix color fairly quickly. I could make small adjustments easily. The reason behind this was to learn how to do it and color harmony. I used to think limiting the colors I use out of the tube would lead to mixing mud, but the opposite occurred. I was able to mix and change values fairly quickly and got a better handle of the old color wheel.
Okay, getting back to the green problem. While I was sitting on the porch gazing at the hostas and pondering life, I saw an amazing challenge right before my eyes. I walked into the studio and grabbed my camera. I started snapping pictures of all the foliage in front of me. It was a perfect challenge to my current problem. I entered the studio and choose the largest canvas available. I began to sketch out the plant and later referred to the photos for the color matching. The painting I ended up visualizing in my mind started out as a very abstract concept. The movement of the shapes and the variegated variations really interested me. All the negative and positive shapes that made up this painting of GREEN leaves was further complicated by a layer of morning dew. I knew this wasn't going to be easy. I was right!