Why I Use Bright, Vivid Colors When I Paint – I Love Color

I often frequent my local garden market, and I love it when they have a large assortment of Gerbera Daisies. It is a spectacle.

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Like a magnet, the brilliant display pulls me from across the room. I always want all of the daisies for my garden. One plant will not do. One color will not do. To emulate the riot of colors in the display, I want and need the entire bunch. I love color, and when it is in perfect form, my garden is a kaleidoscope.

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Jacki’s Garden July of 2015

I like it when my garden screams! There is nothing subtle or subdued about me. When I paint, I celebrate color in another way. Even when I paint the green areas around my florals, I often flood them with color.

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In the Pink – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles. – Audrey Hepburn

I use the brighter colors to add punch to the green areas of my paintings. Too many people only see black and white — right or wrong. In my experience, that type of life-view is terribly narrow, and the people who cannot stretch themselves to see more of the variances of living are missing a great deal. Like Audrey Hepburn, I believe in Pink, and I also believe in Red and Yellow and Orange and Blue.

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October Leaves – Watercolor Study by Jacki Kellum

Not long ago, I demonstrated painting a close view of a tree trunk surrounded by October leaves. As usual, the class was appalled that I had used a lot of blue in what was supposed to be a brown tree. I explained that I use blue because I love color.  Color is a communicator.  The colors chosen to paint a tree or the sky around that tree determine much about what the tree will communicate in a painting.  For many years, I have told students that if they only want a pretty, accurate representation of a scene, they should buy a good camera.  The camera can do much that I could never do with paint–and it can do it much more rapidly and with much less expense.  A camera simply slices a piece of life and preserves it–just the way the lens sees it.

The camera is a machine–it reproduces what it sees and it does that without bias or emotion.  If the scene is beautiful, the photograph should be beautiful. If the scene is ugly, the photograph will be ugly. The camera mimics what it sees.

The artist has the option to move beyond a mechanical rendering.  The artist has the option to be more than a machine and to simplify or to omit unnecessary details and/or to exaggerate others. In doing so, the artist begins to tell a personal story.

Scientists and sociologists have studied the impact of color for many years.  It has been noted that since ancient time, colors have been used to evoke emotional responses.  Because I want my art to have an emotional response, I paint with exaggerated colors.

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December River – Watercolor by Jacki Kellum

In the above painting, December River, I purposely exaggerated the blues to convey the cold, dreary mood of winter.  Red, being the color of blood, is the color of energy–of life.  When I paint, I use a lot of red–and I do it very deliberately. I use red to infuse my subject matter with energy–with emphasis–with punch.

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Thanksgiving Across the Lake – Watercolor by Jacki Kellum

My paintings are a continuous battle of darks and lights–regressions and egressions–of deaths and life.  I use color to express that battle, and in every painting, I count on red to not only win the battle but to fly the flag of victory.

©Jacki Kellum October 15, 2016

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5 thoughts on “Why I Use Bright, Vivid Colors When I Paint – I Love Color

  1. As you may have surmised by now, I love bright colors as well. And I love your paintings. What spirit and bravery. I just can’t be spontaneous when drawing or painting–only in collages, my house being the largest collage I’ve every constructed. I love using other people’s art as a part of those collages..Keep screaming, Jacki!

    Liked by 1 person

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