Color is interesting to Hollis Dunlap who has a solo show coming up soon at Sirona Fine Art. He posted on Facebook recently that he has 25 new works. One of the works he posted Electric Blue was selected for PAINTING THE FIGURE NOW exhibition at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art.
He says that his palette is not limited and that is a term he never uses but others do to try to describe his style. He is a classical painter and also a teacher. Working with brighter colors not only seems to work well with the modernization of ways to use paint but it also seems to garner attention yet it keeps his classical painting style intact.
With these new blues, he has taken to drawing sometimes on the canvas to get a better feel and get the shapes correct. Normally he just starts painting directly onto the canvas which works well with his frantic style. He says he normally doesn't have the patience to stick with underdrawings. He spends time revising and repainting areas and a work of art could take from a few hours to a month. Although he has been working on just one piece for years.
He switched his colors recently from the more subtle darker palette to these new vibrant and electric schemes. He explains: "These colors are actually colors that I used years ago, but I wasn't happy with so I simplified. I was looking at paintings by Sargent and it helped me to get rid of the really bright colors. Then I started to think Sargent was boring and I thought I'd start brightening things up."
When his work was being described as "limited palette" he decided to change because the word "limited" to him implied losing something. He'd rather think about what can be achieved with colors, as opposed to what can't be. He still loves working with traditional colors so he will work alternatively depending on what he feels the painting needs. He continues, "the colors I use give me the maximum range with the simplest setup. For example, Ultramarine Blue is very versatile. If you use it with a bright yellow, you can make almost any green. If you mix it with a permanent rose, you can get almost any violet. But it also mixes very well with earth tones like burnt sienna, to make beautiful subtle grays. Many people would buy a separate green, rather than mixing one, but if you mix one, there is a subtle effect on the harmony of the overall painting since you are using the same pigments throughout. Most people don't notice it, but I do, and it's important to me for the overall effect. Many people notice the brighter colors more easily, but subtle greys are really the key to good color (for me). Then again, there really aren't any limits. Its all about coming up with a color scheme that is pleasing to the eye."
We will call his bright colors period "psychedelic".