Artist Diaries: Lucie Stern Theatre in hues of purple

After sketching out the Lucie Stern Theatre building on canvas last week, I embarked on my first pass across the canvas with my oil paints.

I chose to paint this building because I’ve always loved the architecture and also because I wanted to explore the many tints and hues of white. As Lee Hartman, my teacher, notes: you never just paint pure white on the canvas.

Instead, for this painting, I choose the foundation color to be blue and umber. I folded in tiny amounts of this mixture into my white and then I played around with adding blues and reds. At the very top of the building, I used the off-white mixture and then for the lower shaded areas, I experimented with the red and blue infused whites.

However, midway through, I changed course based on Lee’s advice and started to work with purple instead.

It was interesting since I was working with blue and red which really come together to form purple. So close, but not quite right.

To add to the complexity next week, I will try out different tones of purple from bluish-purple to redish-purple. I like the combination of the terracotta and the purple in this painting. The foreground will have branches and some leaves so it will be interesting to see how I tie in the color of these elements with a painting that currently seems comfortable with two dominant colors.

I asked Lee if I was getting better and she looked at me, sighed and muttered, “Rome was not built in a day.”

To which I responded, “I am not trying to build Rome, just become a better painter.”

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