Andrew Wyeth was a realistic painter that majored on religious artworks, one of the best-known U.S artists in the mid 20th century. His major interests were the painting of land and the people that were nearby, both at his abode in Pennsylvania and at his home in Maine. One of his best and well-known artworks is concerning the ‘Christian world’ that exists even today in the Museum of Modern Art in the New York. Below is one of his artists work followed by an explanation of the usage of color to enhance his art.
The usage of color in Wyeth’s paintings
Fig 1: The artistic work of Andrew Wyeth. From: Evad (2009)
Wyeth made use of a dry brush technique that helped create a beautiful expression. The dry brush painting is a technique of painting where one uses a paint brush that looks dry but it holds some paint. Wyeth used this method and enhanced his paintings in a way that would tell a story. That is because he painted his thoughts and feelings, and this made him create the real pictures in his mind. A good painting should connect the real life situation with the result of the artwork, and it should make it easy for someone to make meaning out of the object. As one can observe the above painting, there is realism from the objects due to the careful usage of color to separate the different layers and shapes. He uses brown and gray colors but makes an object have even the finest details that are in the requirement to help one make sense out of the drawing.
An artwork should not have many colors that can be confusing to the readers, and Wyeth takes care of this perfectly well. He uses only a couple of colors and makes the painting clear without creating confusion. He uses well the dry brush to create a surface and structure, and it is clear from the above how there is the usage of small blue and brown lines suggesting a frozen surface. Color is very useful when it comes to creating the reality of a surface or creating sections of the painting. Careful usage of color makes it possible to differentiate the different parts that make up a painted object. It can be seen from the above painting work of Wyeth how the usage of color makes us separate the person, the shadow, and the grass background. Color use should also make a drawing as captivating as possible by transforming ordinary moments into life, and that is what is visible from the above figure. It is eye-catching and interesting.
The usage of balance design principle by Wyeth
Balance as a design principle of art is the distribution of the visual weight of items, space, texture, and color (Bartel, 2015). Objects, forms, textures, shapes, colors, etc., are useful in creating a balance of an object of art. There are symmetric balance and symmetric balance whereby asymmetrical balance two sides of the same object are similar; while asymmetric both sides are similar but not mirrored. As depicted from the above image there is balance in the way Wyeth uses color, texture and shape to communicate his idea through painting. The usage of a different texture in the figure helps us make a distinction between the person and the shadow. It also enables us distinguish the different levels of the ground and the tunnel.
He used different shapes also to create balance as we can see the shirt and the buttons, the grass, and the poles that depict a fence around the field. There is a symmetrical balance on both sides of the field that are on either side of the fence. It is because of balance that we can notice the higher and the lower parts of the field and the place where there is more grass than the rest of the ground. The good arrangement of the buttons creates balance, and it shows us that they are buttons and not a mere decoration. The arrangement of the poles on a single line also tells the viewers that it is a fence. If there would be no such arrangements someone cannot tell it is a balanced pattern. That uniformity creates balance in the picture above.
He also used color carefully to create balance in the picture. He uses a fading color to signify a place well-lit by sunlight, or the ground that does not have much grass. The color on cloth also creates a balance as we can see that it is a man and particularly a soldier. There is also the usage of different shapes to create balance in the image. For instance, it is the use of different shapes that we can differentiate the different parts of the body of the person in the picture. Different shapes also help us to identify the shadow, the grass, the fence and the small demarcation on the field.
Bartel, M. (2015). Elements and principles of design.
Evad, I. (2009). Remembering the colors of Andrew Wyeth.
Nielsen, P. (2012). Drybrush-a watercolor technique explored by Andrew Wyeth.