Another way the artist affects mood is through choice of subject and how she designs the painting with it. Let us consider the chicken. She is a popular subject and rarely taken seriously. I mean, chicken paintings are fun, right? The creature herself can be moody and difficult, but a painting of a chicken... amusing! Same with cows. Hey, farm animals in general are pretty funny. I digress.
Frequent subject choices for representational artists are landscapes, objects, animals, people, and places. Deciding how to express them on the 2-dimensional canvas will make all the difference in how the painting will affect a viewers emotional response. Take for example these two paintings of a giraffe (not my work...done by other artists)
In one painting this unusual animal seems elegant and evokes restfulness; the other painting whimsically celebrates her sweet goofiness and makes us smile. Lots of animal paintings are lighthearted and mood lifting, but some can be assertive and powerful. The same is true for paintings of landscapes. Many are of restful, pleasing vistas, but paintings of powerful rivers, glaciers, waterfalls evoke feelings of danger, strength, inspiration.
It is entirely up to the artist to determine what to communicate through the subject matter. I mostly like to capture a feeling of wonder and appreciation for the gift of a unique and serendipitous moment. When some lovely little thing happens to me and I'm lucky enough to get a photo reference of it, I tuck it away for a later studio painting. That's where the inspiration for this "children series" I did last fall:
One of my objectives when I write about painting techniques and composition is to enhance your experience of art, so that gallery viewing brings you more enjoyment and may even lead you to growing your own art collection. Ponder anew the subject matter you see in paintings and what emotions they bring out in you.
Thank you, faithful readers!!!
The Tennessee lakes are filled with turtles and also filled with heavy, murky water. How could I express this in my painting for the Radnor Art Show? There were a pair of turtles in a demonstration tank at Lake Radnor Nature Center that I used as models for my underwater painting of turtle life in the South. I laid in the colors dark and heavy and when I view this I feel the mystery and danger of the underwater world. Rather than the typical "calm, hope, peace" that blue and green can evoke, I feel the foreignness of that alien world.
Here is another green & blue painting that does communicate quiet, peaceful rest. Artists work with the properties of color to capture the mood of the scene and subject of their paintings. These properties, again, are:
In "Heron Hideaway" the blues and greens are warmer hues (even though they are still cool colors) and their values are much lighter on the light to dark scale. Do you notice a difference in your emotional response to this painting and the turtle painting?
The chroma, a fancy word for intensity, is also at opposite ends in the two examples. "Lake Buddies" is very dark (low key), but also very intense in chroma. The dark, dark blue is almost neon and so is the green area on the left. Even though the heron painting is lighter (high key), the blues and greens are less saturated and lower in chroma. That allows the light feathers to be the star of the show. You can see the reflections of foliage in the water are even lower in chroma. Intense (high) chroma, as a rule, evokes intense feeling and energy and, conversely, lower chroma (as in the heron painting) evokes a more gentle, restful response.
Stay tuned for more on Mood and Art. Thanks for reading! Leave a comment in the comment box and I will love you!!
Hello! My name is Wendy and I am passionate about oil painting! Whether in the studio or out in Mother Nature, I get lost in the experience of capturing on canvas the moment and the feel of what I am painting. I pour my love and energy into every single piece of artwork and I hope it shows! This blog is a place where I can use words to talk about art, painting, life, faith, things that make me laugh, and things that inspire. I love every response, so don't be shy about leaving a comment...