Thursday, January 31, 2013

Color Field Painting

by Donato

Finger Pointed Solward    White on White
Following up on Jespers wonderful post yesterday regarding color, I thought to add more fuel to the color theory fire and share a few color field paintings I have executed over the course of my career.

Just as Jesper methodically plans out his color arrangements, I too made very discrete judgement calls on what colors and approach I would take before entering into the application of paints into these works.  Rather than let intuition guide me, I stepped into the left side of the brain and made calculated, scientific choices based upon color wheel balances and intentional limiting conditions.  These restrictions ranged from saturation levels of the colors, to value ranges, to the number of colors, to overall complimentary color extremes/minimums.

As I mentioned before in other posts, I love to set these challenges before me - these curveballs - in order to see just how I could pull off a hit with the art as I render the image with these parameters in place.

This post is focused upon works of art created under a generally monochromatic color scheme.   Admittedly they are not even close to monochromatic, but what I love about the process is to see how to manipulate my color application so that the paintings appear at first glance as a unified color field painting.

I cannot tell you how much I have learned about color while tackling these images!

It is amazing how little you have to shift your greys to make them appear very cool while imbedded within the context of a largely red/orange painting.  Or how grey/brown you can make flesh and have it read as warm while in a very blue/green environment. It is one thing to see it on display here, yet another for you to try it within your own work!

Give it a go and have fun with a few muddycolor curveballs!

Widowmaker Unleashed         Yellow Color Field

Widowmaker Unleashed    Detail

The Nameless Day          Red/Orange Color Field

Senator Leia Organa      Cool Grey Low Value Key

Senator Leia Organa        Cool Grey Low Value Key         Detail


  1. I love this! You and Jesper have both sent me flying off to try these curveballs ASAP! thank you Donato!

  2. Claiming these to be colourfields is a bit hamhanded don't you think?
    I don't wish to imply the works aren't emotive and expressive, but they hardly have the timeless zeal of abstract colourfields.

  3. Donato, that marble floor is worthy of Alma Tadema!

  4. I love "Widowmaker Unleashed." Yellow is a hard color for me to work with because of it's intensity and it's very daunting to think of centering a painting around yellow. It's great to see such a well done example.

  5. Uh...! "Senator Lela Organa" is a technical marvel within it's self. That toe from underneath the dress is a classic nuance worthy of the great masters. Amazing piece deserving of the highest technical merit and draftmenship! When there is a print available I do hope to snatch one up! Very good work! "Finger Pointed Solward" is equally deserving of praise. I am still trying to figure out how that "hatch" locks in place. I can see where the seams join but the locking mechanism is still eluding me. Two very great works indeed.


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