Tag Archives: oil painting

The Use of Color in Art: To Be Bold, or Not to Be?


16 x 16, oil

That is not the question. Let experience be the guide, and your instinct. It’s not an either/or question.

In my youth, only bold and strong color was interesting to me. My home was a Crayola crayon explosion. “Wow,” people would say, much to my surprise. You mean a hot pink bathroom, red kitchen and orange living room aren’t the norm? It never occurred to me I was being bold; it was just what was appealing to me.

When it came to painting the same rules applied: the more color, the more “true” the art felt to me.


9 x 12, oil

Then sometime more recently, as my forties settled in, and some more life had happened, my palette changed. My studio turned from orange all over to deep charcoals and soft grays. My entire house got repainted, in fact. “Bold” color segued into more soothing, soft colors. I found the mostly colorful art my husband and I collected, both before we met and together, popped against the more limited color palette. I found myself enjoying it more. And my eyes felt more at peace.


14 x 14, oil

At the same time, my art found grounding, greyed-down color to anchor the bold color, or the palette became black and white with splashes of color. Of course, I still adore color, and colorful art. But restraint has also become seductive.


9 x 12, oil

Recently, the question was posed: “Is your change of palette a reflection of your mood?” My answer: maybe. But maybe more so a reflection of time and experience. Then again, my next decade, for reasons unknown to me, might find a return to the bold and brash. I doubt it, though: I think the older we all get, the more alluring the gift of restraint is.

What do you think? As always, I appreciate your feedback. Leave a comment or join the ongoing discussion on Facebook and Instagram. See you out there!

Why I Think You Should Be Heading in Opposite Directions — Equally, at the Same Time



16 x 16, oil

This is exactly where I find myself at this point in the journey. If you have followed my work for some time, you have seen a marked change in my process. As one who is continually more impressed by an artist’s journey and growth than consistency, I honestly hope this is always the case.


24 x 48, oil

Always a student, I find myself studying the basics of art more: returning to drawing, thinking of reality, rendering it. It was just two years ago that I was in Florence studying classical art, and the influence is lasting. These opportunities for continuing education become deeply rooted in the process: drawing, studying from life, all the basics of a classical art education.


16 x 16, oil

At the same time, there has always been this joy in abstraction, an admiration for artists brazen enough to use bold a free brushwork leave parts of a canvas uncovered. You can see it in their work: a freedom and abandon. When encountered, it makes me stop in my tracks and stare in awe. In the day-to-day practice of art, my soul is just a little happier, a bit more joyful, when the abstraction is at play.


16 x 20, watercolor

Ah, but my classical studies have taught me that the truest freedom comes from first honoring the greatest discipline, then choosing the freedom to move past it … So I find myself headed in both directions at once: nodding to classicalism in my study and work and playing in abstraction and unadulterated joy at the same time.


16 x 20, watercolor

I’m curious, can you see this in my journey? In my work? I think you can count on seeing this even more in the coming year.

As always, I love hearing about your journey in the comments. And I invite you to join the ongoing discussion on Facebook and Instagram everyday.