That Difficult Color

That Difficult Color

Today’s blog features Brand Ambassador Vi. Vi is a watercolor artist whose specialty is highly detailed and beautiful watercolor flowers. You can find her other blog post here.

“Everyone has one. The color that you didn’t buy individually, the color that is still unused except for swatching, the color in the set that you didn’t open, the color you only have one shade of because you didn’t know how to use it in your paintings. Yes, that color.

For me, it was Red. 

Of all the colors out there, I believe red is the most dramatic one. It is the color of the bold and daring, anger and passion, festivities and good fortune.  It is the color of choice for fast cars and a classic color for lipstick. Red is used for signs that require attention, like Stop, Warning, Exit, saying, “Hey, look at me.”

For all the reasons above,  it is also the color I was very reluctant to work with early on. Such high expectations for the color red! I  had shied away from it, using greens, purples, and pastels instead. I had planned to paint a project with all red poppies, but in the end, I had only painted one red bloom and used lighter colors on the other flowers instead, because I felt that I had to balance out the intensity. “Baby steps,” I thought. “I’ll get there.”

Fast forward to today, it is now the color I look forward to using. There are so many different reds to choose from depending on what color palette I want to play with.  Do I want to go bright and bold, earthy and muted, berry-colored and mouth watering?  Do I want to paint with it at full tonal value or did I want to thin it out to a quiet whisper of baby pinks? Do I want it to dominate the whole painting, use it as an accent, draw focus to small details? Hmmm… decisions. 

So how did I go from avoiding it to loving it? I started using red as pinks – I watered them all the way down to a shy baby pink. 

I also used reds that were leaning towards the berry shade, and I darkened my reds because I wasn’t used to the bold, bright, color.

And then, when I was more comfortable, I took the plunge! I was finally able to paint my painting with red poppies. 

Which color are you reluctant to use?  Baby steps, you’ll get there.” 

You can find more of Vi’s artwork on her Instagram!


Check out Art Philosophy’s Concentrated Watercolor here!

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