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.
From this pool I refined it down to:
- Confidant with himself,
- Able to laugh at himself,
- Fun & silly,
- Childish, but in a good way.
And from all of these I then chose the following colours:
- 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.
Refined down to:
- Strong-willed (both good and bad),
- Caring and faithful,
- Humorous, but blunt,
- An anchor in the storm.
Into the colours:
- 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.
- 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.