With a May bank holiday painting exhibition in progress, my thoughts turn to if I have chosen the right subjects and if they are tastefully framed. Advice given to me years ago was that ‘green paintings and gravestones never sell!’ The juries still out on sepulchral subjects, though I have sold one or two! It is a good idea to consider carefully your subject content. I once did what I felt was a good painting of a magpie perched on a piece of rusty guttering. It went in and out of several exhibitions until a colleague whispered in my ear, “one for sorrow!”. I removed the said work from its frame and put a second bird in flight. ‘Two for Joy’ sold in the next show!
Now green is another matter and something that is uppermost in a lot of artist’s minds judging by the number of magazine articles we see on the subject. We associate colours with feelings and green unfortunately, apart from go!, can represent evil, sinister things of the night, decay, corruption etc. Even politicians get custard dyed green before its thrown over them!
My revelation came after being commissioned to paint a series of golf courses in watercolour. These were really green. In fact, the paintings were becoming overbearingly green, I would long for a green where I could place a red flag and get away from the colour green! It was then that I discovered that green paintings could be represented with other colours as long as I painted them tonally correct. A few hints of green and things started to read better.
Pastel artists often complain they can never find the right green. My approach to greens in pastel is also to paint tonally. If for example, there’s an area of dark in a tree, I’ll use any dark tone rather than looking for the local colour of green.
The thing to remember is there are no rules in art as Tretchikoff proved!
Ps. If you’re going to Patchings this year, pop and see me on my stand. I’m running a fun competition giving away free art materials, see future issues of the Leisure Painter for more details.
Pps..go to my website for exhibition details, www.timfisherartist.co.uk