Moving into Expressionism

So I am now at the stage that I will be taking my portraiture work from realism into exaggerated colour and Expressionism. I wasn’t sure how to do this, wasn’t sure how to pick the colours and convey what I wanted to. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to convey with the paintings. Luckily, Ryan swept in from the sidelines to rescue me.

We discussed inspiration and ideas for what I wanted to present in the portraits. The subjects are my friends, and so naturally I wanted to show the good in them, the reasons they were my closest friends. But then the portrait becomes a projection of myself upon the subject. It would risk the portraits all being very similar to each other as I share many feelings among my friends.

Instead, Ryan suggested a different approach. Rather than using my own thoughts as inspiration, I should use the subject’s thoughts as inspiration. With this in mind I went to the subjects and asked them to sum themselves up in 4 words or short phrases. This way I wouldn’t just be projecting my own views/thoughts/emotions of the subject into the painting, but also their own (I wont be able to completely  remove my own projections since I know the subject).

With these 4 words/phrases I would then break it out into synonyms and then use this collective pool of words and emotions to create a basic palette to be added to the portrait.


 

Stuart

Stuart Words

From this pool I refined it down to:

  • Confidant with himself,
  • Able to laugh at himself,
  • Fun & silly,
  • Relaxed,
  • Childish, but in a good way.

And from all of these I then chose the following colours:

Stuart palette

  • Red (Scarlet): Attention-getting, bold, enthusiastic.
  • Orange (Amber): Sociable, enthusiastic, confidant.
  • Purple (Lilac): Immature, creative, social.
  • Blue (Azure): Calm, peaceful.
  • Turquoise (Aqua): Clarity, balance, calm.

Alongside these I have several intentions towards the application of these colours and the overall composition of the painting:

  • Strong, confidant strokes,
  • Few sharp edges/points,
  • Exploding colour patterns,
  • Tie-die inspiration (90’s),
  • Laughing expression.

Karolina

Karolina Words

Refined down to:

  • Strong-willed (both good and bad),
  • Caring and faithful,
  • Humorous, but blunt,
  • An anchor in the storm.

Into the colours:

Karolina palette

  • Yellow: uplifting, critical, fun.
  • Blue (Dark): Loyal, responsible, rigid, caring.
  • Red (Burgundy & Crimson): Assertive, strong, domineering.
  • Purple: Integrity, structure, faithfulness.
  • Green (Jade & Yellow-Green): envious, spiteful, reliable.

Compositional elements:

  • Arms crossed, proud and confidant.
  • Cracks and/or lightning to show harsh sarcasm.
  • Fills canvas imposingly/solidly.
  • Happy expression.

It should be noted that I am not yet sure how much I will be incorporating each of these colours  into the portraits , they are simply a base.

Also, when linking colours to emotions, I used several colour theory references alongside my own understandings. In particular I found this website extremely useful, as it also shows how slight changes in hue (for example burgundy compared to scarlet) can alter what expressions the colour connotes.

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Posted on March 19, 2015, in Friend Studies. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Moving into Expressionism.

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