Strawberries in Blue Bowl

Things Are Not as High Color as They Seem

I was able to use “Cadmium Red Light” in its raw form in “Strawberries in Blue Bowl.” This red rarely occurs in nature other than in fruit or flowers. However, in nature, there are an incredible number of variations and nuances found within the color family. Most things are far less colorful than they appear. When I began painting, I painted in much higher chroma than appears in nature. It took several years of study to realize this. In fact, human skin is all in the orange family, a mixture of low chroma ochre and red with hints of blues and greens.

History of Red

The history of Red is very interesting. It was the first color humans reproduced and it  in many variations including cinnibar, vermillion, carmine and napthol. Red found in nature includes more neutral colors such as red ochre, Indian red, terra rosa and sienna. Other reds include Quinachirone, Alizarin and Permanent Rose. There is a brilliant history of Red found here.

Red once symbolized sacrifice, danger and courage, given that it is the color of blood, but it is also the color  associated with love, passion and exertion. In some countries Red is the color of symbolizing happiness and good fortune. Interestingly, while red is not a “favorite” color by most, it gets the highest prices at art auctions.

Painting Strawberries in Blue Bowl

We are now getting abundant red fruit, such as strawberries, cherries, and watermelon during the warm summer months. I combined this painting with one of my favorite blue bowls and the dark blue of the bowl helps ground the subject on the table. The strawberries present well with their complimentary color green in their leaves, giving the eye a focal point. While red is not my favorite color, it was a joy to paint “Strawberries in Blue Bowl”.  I use red a lot with many fruits, flowers and in portraits, but it was not until I used it in strawberries, where the true Cadmium RED color shows itself fully. For shadows, I use mixture of alizarin and ultramarine blue, and sometimes a bit of burnt umber. Enjoy.