3 July 2009

Local colour is the kind of thing that they tell you about in art school classes. The teacher will show examples that demonstrate that an object will reflect colour from surrounding objects.
Here is a close up of a bit of the 'Stinking Rose' painting from May 21st blog.
This shows that the tomato colour is reflected onto the plate and the garlic bulb. Blinding bleeding obvious eh? It happens the other way as well. A red tomato will also reflect the colour of its surroundings. If it is next to a green lime for instance, there will be green on the tomato skin. When you paint the tomato skin you would need to add green paint to show it.
But, we all know that the tomato was red, not green. Same as we all know that my plate was white not red.
This brings us to the subject of painting what we know versus what we see.
A child would know that the tomato is red and would be puzzled by any suggestion that the artist should paint some of it green.
This brings us to the subject of naive painting, where the artist is untrained, or where the artist paints as though he/she was untrained.
It is attractive to see a painting created by fresh untutored eyes. For example we have a collection of our childrens and grandchildrens paintings on our walls. They are delightful. But the paintings are often wrong because the kids are painting what they know before they learn to paint what they can see.
Sometimes I manage to shake off years of learning and make pictures using my child eyes. Sometimes I paint using all the skill and sophistication I can muster.
I dunno which persona I prefer, cos I like them both.

But why are tomato's red in the first place?
Ah-ha! There is a biological determinist answer to that in a future post.


  1. Left brain right brain. Left hand right hand. Use them both........

  2. Hmmm! You have been reading my book.
    That is exactly what I say.


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