limiting the palette

For a variety of reasons, some known, some unknown, I've been working with limited colors lately--the main ones being an acidy spring green, an earthy brown, and a purpley magenta. I do know this is inspired by my seasonal magnetic attraction to the sight of blooming redbuds (Cercis canadensis) on brown hillsides where new leaves are just appearing in the tree tops.

So when I started playing with silk screens and such, I limited my palette to these colors. And it turned out to be a good thing.

© 2010 BJ Parady

The first reason is fairly obvious--all the pieces I'm making go together.

But the best reason is that having one decision controlled--color--I seem to be more free to experiment with other things. I know the color is going to work, so I concentrate on getting the composition right.

© 2010 BJ Parady

But then, of course, value comes into the picture--although the acid green I'm using is light, and the browns are darker, so this isn't a big problem.

These colors, near opposites, work together well--to my eye at least--when there's a lot of green and brown and very little magenta. This may well be because of the inspiration from which I'm drawing these pieces, where the flowers are vastly outnumbered by the other elements of the landscapes, but still manage to dominate. The few pieces I've started where the magenta covers most of the space just look too pink to me--maybe a prejudice against pink? Not sure.

© 2010 BJ Parady

I've managed to find a quick way to make 'silk paper' my own way--just laid the silk roving on fusible webbing, ironed it, then cut it to shape.

© 2010 BJ Parady

And this work is producing some interesting pieces--so far all small. I realize this picture is rather keystoned and dark, but I think it has a lot of promise. I'm even thinking of opening back up my Etsy shop to sell these small pieces...

So far I'm not tired of the palette--maybe because I'm simultaneously working on a large, summer colored piece--but maybe because summer is slow to come in Illinois this year. I think I'll continue on this path for a while.

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