Class Notes on Color

"Still Life with Teapot and Orange" Oil on Canvas Board 11" x 14" © 1992 Marilyn Fenn

“Still Life with Teapot and Orange”
Oil on Canvas Board
11″ x 14″
© 1992
Marilyn Fenn


Class notes, SAIC, 1991
  • More transparent colors recede; more opaque colors come forward.
  • Unify the painting by using the same yellow, orange, etc.
  • Gray colors by using their complements.

  • Work all over, 3-4 tones (light, medium, dark, etc.) for each area –> work other colors from painting into highlights and shadows.
  • Work all over; when you change one thing, you change everything!
  • Make sure highlights reflect colors from light source (or put another way, warm light, cool shadows; cool light, warm shadows).
  • Simplify shapes (details) in shadows especially (i.e., NO detail).
  • Choose a color scheme and stick to it.
  • Get freshness back into figures while working all over.
  • Let some shadow areas slide into background area.


Read more class notes from SAIC:

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Any incentive to paint is as good as any other. There is no poor subject. Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made. I try to act in the gap between the two.

— Robert Rauschenberg
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