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Dear Friend,
March 24, 2014


Last weekend I was in the beautiful town of #Banff, #Alberta…a far cry from the seemingly sun-drenched winter of #Medicine Hat. I went there specifically for an art show at #Canada House featuring Mike Svob’s paintings. His work mesmerizes me and makes me strive for greater color application.

As I was roaming around the gallery with my glass of wine (yes, you get wine at these events!) I couldn’t help analyzing his use of the color green. Green has been a perplexing problem for me in the last while. I have tried all sorts of green colors out the tube and frankly, they look garish. They work when I use a multi-layer pouring technique as the colors mimic mixing them as if on the palette but as I layer them, you visually mix the colors. I was thinking a little research into use of the color green would benefit my work. Gena says that you have to mix your greens, and for god sakes, don’t’ use Viridian green! But it is well noted that Viridian green was on John Singer Sergent’s palette.

I had stopped at Elizabeth Wiltzen’s studio the day prior in #Canmore and she said “how an artist uses green separates the amateur from the professional.” See why I am striving to solve the mystery of the color green ?

As I sauntered through the gallery, I noticed that none of Mike’s greens’ were very not garish or bright; the bright colors he left for the yellows, reds and purples. I think there was only one painting which used a light, bright green. This seemed to draw you in as the area indicated new growth on a tree top; a small dabble of bright green can lead the eye…. All the greens had a subdued appearance to them; as if red was the other color mixed into them to tone them down to a level that appeased the eye, but worked in unison with the other vibrant colors in the painting.
“THE LAST HURRAH SHOWPIECE”  by Mike Svob almost looks like a green-gold color in the foliage.

Could it be I needed to mix Pthalo blue, Cadmium Yellow and RED as Gena had suggested ? Or maybe it is a mix of Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow  Medium which creates a muted green?

I think my issue with green starts when I compare values. I can’t seem to “match” the green value to where it is on the value scale. Is it a value #3 or is it a #5 ? Why is this so important ? Because if you use the right value it really doesn’t matter what color you use….the eye will read the object correctly relative to the objects around it. For example, in the painting below, you and I know that the purple color for the shadow area in the middle tree is not really purple. But the value is correct so our eyes see it as the shadow. This week you know what I’ll be doing in the studio; I will mix and I will mix my greens, mark them on a value chart and see what happens!

Check out Mike Svob’s website. totally love his work!

THE LAST HURRAH SHOWPIECE, Mike Svob, Canada House Art Show 2014. An amazing piece which had a red tag on it (meaning sold) quite quickly.

THE LAST HURRAH SHOWPIECE, Mike Svob, Canada House Art Show 2014. An amazing piece which had a red tag on it (meaning sold) quite quickly.

P.S. Green is the color of balance, growth and it is also traditionally associated with money. A little green on your palette or in your painting when thinking of either of these two things is never a bad thing 🙂

The Little Brown Turtle
Theresa Eisenbarth
ArtWorks in RED Studio