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What has always fascinated me about paints is the way you can blend them to create new colors. I have sat for hours with my palette and created many different colors all from three basic, primary colors. To me it was like opening a present to see what would happen if this color was blended with that color. By the time I was done, my palette had the makings of an English garden in full bloom, not to mention the exotic birds contained within.
There are stunning portraits and eye stopping canvases being created all the time with color. This does not have to be the case. The portrait can be just as stunning when done with the absence of color. Black and white always gets your attention.
You are the creator of the world on your canvas. You can have it as simple or complex as you wish. You can have it be formal or funny. If black and white what you like, then do black and white. If color is the key, then add all the color you wish. You will enjoy the piece more by allowing yourself to just let go and create.
Do not ever worry about whether something looks right or not. As one professional art teacher always stated, there are never any mistakes on the canvas, just happy accidents.
There is one thing you should remember when painting, keep the darks to the shadows. This means you can use the darker colors as a base for the lighter ones and the subject matter will actually shadow it's self. Of course, if you cover the entire dark area with the lighter color then adding the dark background is a mute point.
There are so many things which can be done with color. I once did an entire landscape using two colors, white and prussian blue. It was a snow scene centered around a lake. I have to admit, it was beautiful. I am not the only one who thought so. I had it done exactly one hour and someone walked in and bought it right off the easel.
No where in the world is the statement “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” more true than in the art world. I have no desire to own a Picasso. To be honest, Norman Rockwell is more my style. In the world of art, there has to be something for everyone. That is what makes it such a grand adventure. Every one has the ability to shine.