Is Cobalt Violet Missing from YOUR Life?

It was missing from mine!

It all began in the lavender fields.

It was four years ago when I went to France to paint them. I had no idea that lavender would have such a powerful force. In fact in Provence, I found the color and fragrance of lavender quite illusive.

Yet it started my dreams cascading

Joys Garden Dorothy Fagan
Joy’s Garden, oil on canvas, 36 x 48″, Click image to shop

Joy’s Garden

Yet here it is. Joy’s Garden is in my studio larger than life. I didn’t know the title of it. I looked on the back of the canvas yesterday to discover I had written it there a year ago.

I’d found the painting rolled up last week, unfinished. I wondered if I would be able to rescue it? That’s when I had the dream about lavender.

fleurs Dorothy Fagan
Fleurs, oil on canvas, 12″ x 9″ Click image to shop

Fleurs

Fleurs was sitting on the chair by the easel begging to have it’s shadows lightened, just a tad. “Great,” I thought, “a small one to test this notion about warm lavender.”

Still sipping my coffee, I squeezed out some Rubine Lake and mixed it with Cyclamen. Adjusting it cooler and warmer, I painted it in under the shadows of the leaves. Then suddenly the sky demanded Turquoise.

Wow! It glows!

In the meantime a painting from my Cascading Dreams Series sold. We crated it up and sent it to a new home in California. In the process, other unfinished Cascading Dreams paintings found their way into the studio again.

“mmmmm,” I wondered. “Where is this going? Something must be up.”

Cascading Dreams

Cascading Dreams Dorothy Fagan
Cascading Dreams II, oil on canvas, 36″ x 24″  Click image to shop

Cascading Dreams II was already on the easel. I noticed that same lavender, warm and cool, beginning to show it’s face.  My dream pointed to the warm reddish lavender, Cobalt Violet as it moves into deep cool red.

Danza del Tramonto

Dancing in the Sunset

Danza del Tramonto (Sunset Dance)
Danza del Tramonto (Sunset Dance), oil on canvas, 30″ x 24″  Click image to shop

After testing the color on Fleurs, I put Danza back on the easel. I scraped out layers of paint and sanded the painting down to it’s shadows. Beginning with the deep violet trees in the foreground, I painted in the new color relationships.

Wow! I LOVE the sparkling colors! The deep teals, lush meadow greens, and the warmth and verve feel wonderfully invigorating.

The Phoenix

dream landscape Dorothy Fagan
The Phoenix, oil on linen, 11″ x 14″  Click image to shop

A small painting I had begun in France was sitting on the chair nearby. I had repainted it several times since returning home. The palette feels so close, yet not quite as grounded.

Airy and light, it feels like flying!

The Villa

The Villa Dorothy Fagan
The Villa, oil on canvas, 24″ x 30″  Click image to shop

On the wall above it hung this painting of The Villa. Nearly finished, I felt the same ethereal quality and I could see exactly where the warm reddish lavender needed to go.

How Joy’s Garden Came to Life

I painted it in, the brush dancing in my hand. Like signing my name, the calligraphy felt comfortable and effortless.

How could one color change the world so? I have wished for decades to feel the paint brush as comfortable as my pastels. My dream of oil paintings flowing as fluently as my pastels is real.

See the paintings that brought this dream to life>

Which Palette are YOU?

Pastel, Jewel, or Earth
Which Palette are YOU?

We’ve all heard of pastel colors, jewel tones, and earth colors. But what are they ~ really? What makes them what they are? And why should you care?

If you don’t already know which of these 3 palettes is YOU, take a moment to scan the 3 images below.

Which one draws you in?

Which feels most comfortable to you?

Which one IS you?

Is there one you hate?

Jewel Tones Palette ~ Blooming
Jewel Tones Palette ~ Blooming, oil painting & fine art print

Jewel Tones Palette

How do the Jewel tones make you feel?

Jewel tones are pure pigment, or nearly pure pigment. Very saturated colors. Intense.

The colors in this painting; Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Violet, Vermilion, Magenta, Veridian, Cadmium Yellow, Turquoise have been mixed with just enough white to bring the color identity to light.

The dark center of the flowers is Prussian Blue pure pigment. It appears black, but is not. If black were substituted for this color, it would appear lifeless and dead.

for artists

Charvin Jewel Colors
Ruby Red, Rubine Lake, French Red Light, Diamond Orange,
French Yellow Orange, French Yellow, Anise, Meadow Green, Peacock, Emerald, Intense Turquoise, Deep Turquoise, French Cobalt Blue, Deep Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue, Rembrandt Vermilion, Rembrandt Quinacridone Rose, Sennelier Rose

Pastel Tones Palette ~ Gently Sunset
Pastel Tones Palette ~ Gently Sunset,  oil painting & fine art print

Pastel Palette

Now let’s look at the colors in this pastel palette. How do these colors feel to you?

Pastel tones are the same pure pigments, mixed with white. This dilutes the pigment. The dark in this example is actually Shadow Green. Mixed with Provence Blue, the color beside the full strength Shadow Green feels pastel.

Please note: this is an oil painting, not a pastel painting. My discussion here is about pastel tones, not the medium of pastels.

for artists

Charvin Pastel Colors
Naples Yellow, Incarnat, Celadon Green, Green Gray Light, Water Green, Tropical Green, St Remy Green, Deep Opaline Green, St Remy Blue, Caraibes, Royal Blue, Bright Linen, Leaded Gray

Earth Tones Palette
Earth Tones Palette ~ Winter Marsh,  oil painting & fine art print

Earth Tones Palette

How do Earth Colors make you feel?

Earth colors are created from pigments found in the earth, Carmine, Red Earth, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber, Siena, Charcoal, Zinc White. These elements are literally dug from the earth and ground up fine like sugar. This granular pigment is then used to create oil paint, acrylics, watercolors and pastels.

for artists

Charvin Earth Colors
Yellow Ochre, Raw Siena, Transparent Yellow Ochre, Pouzzoles Red, Aubere Pink,
Raw Umber,  Savana, Green Shell, Deep Celadon Green

pastel palette
One tray of pastels with a color chart.

Here is a section of my pastel palette with one of my color charts. Which palette would you say this is?

HINT  There may be more than one right answer!

Which Palette are YOU?

View Results

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I see y’all are voting heavily for the Jewel Tone Palette! Me too! However, there’s something I’ve discovered about balancing colors that requires all three. In doing my artist residencies in France and Italy, I’ve discovered a Color Fusion Palette that creates harmony.  Here’s an example.

Waking Dreams IV
Waking Dreams IV, oil

Can you see the difference between Waking Dreams IV and Blooming? Waking Dreams incorporates all three palettes. Learn more about my Color Fusion Palette in my Awakening Hearts Series and how you can use it in your home to create wellness, serenity, and vitality.

See the one I’m working on today

Can you see the woman in the landscape?

Perhaps not yet. I discovered her in another painting several weeks ago. Since then I’ve noticed she’s in a LOT of my paintings!

Dorothy Fagan Studio
Blocking in a new painting

See the one I’m working on today

Inspired by the idea of an abstract woman in my landscapes, a new way of looking at the blank canvas engages me in the studio. More questions than answers, I am intrigued to discover who she really is!

The small painting on the left easel is my inspiration for the large canvas. I have already painted a Gold Ochre underpainting with oil paint. This gives the canvas some tooth to resist my brush strokes.

close up view
A close up view shows how I am marking out the main forms and shapes of my composition.

Sketching Her Out

Using full strength pigment oil paint, without any medium to thin it, I block in the forms and shapes to fill my canvas. This is where I put my body into the painting. Just the size of the canvas itself is approximately the same as my body. This canvas is 30″ wide and 40″ tall, about the size of an adult woman.

sketching her out
Can you see in the thumbnail sketches in my journal, how these simple shapes translate onto the large canvas?

In the journal she is 2″ tall. On the color study she grows to 14″ Then on the large painting she mushrooms to 40″ ~ a full grown woman.

There is a lot you can’t see about her in the sketchbook that blooms in vibrant color on the 14″ study. And there is a LOT more yet to be articulated in the full size painting.

This painting is part of my Awakening Hearts Series. She doesn’t have a name yet. Perhaps I’ll take suggestions as we go along painting her. Post your suggestions in the comments below.