Power of the palette

One glance at another artist's palette, the range of colours they use in a given work, can and does take me in a completely new direction.  My friend Taylor often talks about the various palettes of the masters, like Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh.  In the times that we painted together, he would go into a project with a particular palette in mind.

I recognize that the colours that I use are rather consistent.  If you were to look at my collected works, displayed chronologically on my website (click here), you would notice clusters of paintings that have a similar look.  When I find myself trapped in a palette, I force myself to use new combinations of colours to see where they take me.  It's a fascinating process.


Jordan Perkins, an artist I admire from Castlegar, BC, uses deep yellows, orange, red and teal in a way that is striking.  He works on larger canvases, and is evolving quickly, trying new things.


One glance at one of his paintings resulted in my Charles Darwin portrait, which morphed into several other pieces over time.


Dominic is a young artist from Florida who has been blowing me away for several years.  One lookl at a painting that he recently posted on Instagram, opened up a path for me to take a completely different approach with a portrait of President Teddy Roosevelt.


I am grateful to all the artists who have influenced my journey, be they professionals, amateurs or even beginners.  They all inspire and challenge me in some way.  Every colour combination, composition, brush stroke, effect and choice offers visual insights.


I have learned to love painting dogs, as an example, inspired by the work of Eric Staub.  Eric lives down in Louisville, Kentucky.  As I have shared my story with hundreds of visitors to Birdsong Studio over the last three years, I often open up my Instagram and show them this painting by Eric of a great dane.  It unlocked something in me that continues to grow and flourish.  I painted Maya on Saturday night; it just poured out of me.


Who will inspire and influence me today?  I can't wait to find out.

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