Monday, May 24, 2010

Blue is the colour

I'm back from my ten day vacation. We covered a lot of miles driving from Calgary, Alberta to Kelowna, British Columbia and saw the most spectacular scenery as we drove through the Rockies. I don't think I've ever been up that high. Living in a city that is 483 feet above sea level makes me a sea level gal. Huffing uphill in Banff (5198 feet above sea level) was a chore.

Yes, there's still ice and snow high in the mountains. I've decided it isn't possible to recreate that green blue colour that is the result of high mountain run off. I saw it so many times in rivers and lakes. My husband went with a friend to Lake Louise while I slaved away at meetings in Banff. It was spectacular he tells me. Looking at his photograph I'd have to agree.

Seeing mountains and sky up close has awakened my senses to the many colour of blue that exist in the environment. Some are subtle leaning toward gray while others are vivid like the sky below. I have difficulty mixing such blues and now they seem to be ingrained in my mind. Some experimentation is in order. One of the things I've decided to do over the summer months is start a colour journal where I will record methodical colour experiments. I already have a haphazard colour journal to keep track of mixes I've used, but there is nothing methodical about it.


Do you have favourite formulas for blue or tips to share to make a blue an easy study? I'd also be interested in any recommendations for excellent books about studying colour.

8 comments:

Kathy said...

What a spectacular trip!! I'd love to go there one day. Stunning landscapes. Blues are very tricky to work with since they tend to dominate too much. There are lots of tricks for controlling that. One includes underpainting in a contrasting color (oranges/reds) and allowing some of that to show through in minor amounts and lots of pin-point areas to help tame the blue. Another is to create the illusion of blue without using too much of it. In any case, I'm certain you'll figure it out!

Margaret Ryall said...

Kathy,
I've had success with under painting in an orange tone. It does calm down the blue and I like to see the bits of orange poking through. In my mind I'm creating the illusion of blue lots of times but it turns out more than the illusion. I think I'm not toning it enough.

-Don said...

Well, Kathy said everything I would have said. So, instead of focussing on your question about blues, I will focus on those beautiful photos of the mountains. Wow! Sweet! Fantastic! Inspiring!

Welcome back, and Happy Creating!

-Don

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

I'm fond of Ultramarine blue and a mix of phthalo blue. mixing colors is such fun! Welcome back from what sounds like a fabulous vacation!

Jeanette said...

The mountains are amazing. My daughter lives in Calgary so we always go to Banff or Lake Louise when there to soak up the scenery.

Blues are challenging indeed and some difficult to photograph too. Have you browsed through Bruce MacEvoy's Handprint site? He has a ton of information on colour there.

Shayla said...

Those are beautiful photos, Margaret. Very dramatic landscapes. As for blues, this isn't a mixing tip so much as a recommendation for genuine lapis lazuli. Ultramarine replaced it for cost, but doesn't get the subtlety of the real thing. The color is so beautiful- and I'm not a 'blues' girl- that I felt a tenderness for it, like love. Have you tried it? If not you may want to treat yourself.

Margaret Ryall said...

Thanks Jeanette. That was a great tip for a colour website. I'll be checking it out in great detail.

Shayla
Your colour recommendation sounds very intriguing to me. I wonder where I would purchase this paint and most importantly is it available in acrylic.

Shayla said...

Yes, it's available in acrylic from Daniel Smith.com (no space in the name).