Working with Medium to Dark Dominant Values
Painting of the Week – Starry Fields by Fargo Artist Ellen Jean Diederich
The idea to paint red sunflowers came to me when my palette kept surging into reds and brown on a yellow sunflower painting. The palette of Starry Fields provided a huge source for experimenting with red related colors. Color blind people need to memorize the order of street lights as red and green are similar in value. They cannot see the difference between the two colors. Values are the lightness or darkness of a color. Fully pigmented, they are difficult to contrast…hence the name Starry Fields. I understood how Vincent Van Gogh wanted to cut his ear off over a painting. This painting took me 9 months to create. The sky was changed at the very end.
This painting may not have been started if I had done a value sketch before. The lightest values in the flowers are yellows and the darkest values mix red and green. In fact most of the painting is in medium to dark values. This painting was greatly abstracted to make it work. The strength of this painting is in the shapes and size changes and connections. Where the sunflowers caught the edge of the sun there was an opportunity for more contrast. Despite these difficulties it was extremely exciting to explore the passion of the reds, oranges, violets, and pinks in their intensities.
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