Red is the color of Valentine’s Day.
Red is also the strongest color in your color palette, in case you hadn’t noticed, no matter in what medium you render your artistic masterpieces.
In pastel, colored pencil, oil, acrylic, and certainly watercolor, red grabs the attention of your viewer quicker than any other element you employ, and it just won’t let go. As my friend, the painter, says, “Red will eat you up.”
An old story in painting goes something like this:
“If you want your painting noticed, paint it big. If you can’t paint it big, paint it red. But if you really want your painting noticed, paint it big AND red.”
I don’t know that I agree with that strategy, but it is certainly true. Scientifically, the colors we see as red are the longest wavelengths in light, according to Wikipedia, but who cares about that?
What is important is how it looks and feels.
When planning your painting (if you are one of those painters who do that) keep in mind that your viewer will be forced to look at the reds, wherever you paint them in your painting. That is, if you paint something red, and it wasn’t your focal point, well, now it is. Just wanted to make sure you knew that.
I’m sure you’ve had this experience when mixing red: you’re using it to make orange by adding it to yellow, or perhaps you’re adding it to green to make a dark. “I’ll add just one more drop,” you say, and the whole thing turns red instantly! Dang.
Yes, there are cool reds, such as alizarin, and there are warm reds, such as cadmium red light, but remember, they are all still red and will act and react accordingly.
There’s no doubt, red evokes a mood, if not a response. When we see red (and I don’t mean the expression for anger in English) we usually feel something along the lines of intensity, vibrancy, action, heat, and WoW!
That’s the power of red. You can understand its connection with Valentine’s Day.
Keep on Painting