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Do you see what I see?

Not all people see color alike, some are totally color blind. No two people perceive the world the same way. To better understand why read below. I’ve even included a couple tips from my Color & Energy workshops and have included the 2019 Workshop Schedule.

When moving from New York to Florida, back to New York and finally back to Florida, each time I would notice my color sensibility increased.

I also realized when teaching art that most people are #1 afraid of color or #2 do not see it, like it or feel it the same way.

Different locations around the world make us see color differently. The light in Florida is clear and bright in contrast to the typical hazy, gray day in the Northeast.

TIP 1: You can actually see color more brilliantly by training your eye to look for colors you don’t normally find. How? Think about a color you really like and then start looking for it in your surroundings. The color is right in front of you. Seek and you shall find. In my workshops you can learn how to mix colors but more importantly, how to expand what you see. (read on for another tip)

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Click below on the area of choice for workshop info.

Sarasota, FL - next: Nov. 2018, Feb. 2019, (year round workshops)

Near San Diego, CA (scheduling in progress) Contact me for more info.

Montgomery, NY (scheduling in progress for Sept. 2019) Contact me for more info.

Greece (Sept. 21- 28, 2019). I’ve invited J. Baldini, founder of the International Plein Air Painters to conduct this workshop with me.

 Learn to create small studies in a book that I specifically designed for you to work fast to create better studies.

Learn to create small studies in a book that I specifically designed for you to work fast to create better studies.

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If you are used to a subtle palette (soft paler or muted colors), what happens when you visit the tropics where the colors are hot? After being constantly exposed to painting in a clearer light with colors not usually in your everyday palette, will you possibly find those colors again when you return home? Do you see the differences in the greens like I have on the color chart in the third and fourth row below? Do you know when to use a yellowish green and when to use a bluish green? It is very simple once you learn the basic concepts.

When trained to see colors you begin to notice the nuances of color in places that you once only saw grayed versions before. You won’t find black or gray paint or pastels in my studio.

Tip 2: If you need a gray try mixing two complimentary colors (opposite on the color wheel together to neutralize each other out). The grays I see are not a dead black and white gray but a very colorful lively gray. There is only one purplish gray in my 80 piece pastel set. To make a gray in pastel overlap the opposite colors of the same value like a green and red or violet and yellow.

 These are my favorite 80 colors that I have used most when painting landscape in pastel. After 20 years of working in pastel and keeping track of what colors I used most often, it was easy to pick these particular colors out from the over 500 colors in the Jack Richeson line. I tested them on a recent trip to Italy and didn’t yearn for any other color.  They are now available in the Color & Energy set of soft hand rolled pastels by Jack Richeson company.  It is a prismatic set of colors created to give you the colors necessary to create high energy works of art. You can learn how to increase your color confidence and create vibrant works of art in one of my Color & Energy workshops.   If interested in the pastels…    You can order the set by clicking here   .

These are my favorite 80 colors that I have used most when painting landscape in pastel. After 20 years of working in pastel and keeping track of what colors I used most often, it was easy to pick these particular colors out from the over 500 colors in the Jack Richeson line. I tested them on a recent trip to Italy and didn’t yearn for any other color. They are now available in the Color & Energy set of soft hand rolled pastels by Jack Richeson company. It is a prismatic set of colors created to give you the colors necessary to create high energy works of art. You can learn how to increase your color confidence and create vibrant works of art in one of my Color & Energy workshops.

If interested in the pastels… You can order the set by clicking here.

Below is a typical morning painting of a wetland in NY. The air is filled with moisture as well as the pollution that gets stuck in the valley between the mountains. This atmosphere acts like a veil diffusing the colors in front of us making them harder to find.

 14” x 11” Pastel available at 530 Burns Gallery, Sarasota, FL

14” x 11” Pastel available at 530 Burns Gallery, Sarasota, FL

Yet, when out for a morning paint in Sarasota, FL, on most days the air is clear, the light is brilliant making the colors all scream for attention. Now it is a matter of selection.

 Oil painting at  Marie Selby Garden  in Sarasota, FL.

Oil painting at Marie Selby Garden in Sarasota, FL.

Tip 3: Do not paint exactly what you see. The painting needs to have a variation of hue, intensity and value. In reality I could see the trees as vividly in the background as in the foreground, however, to set those trees back you must alter what you see a bit to create a feeling of space. Here I have done something unusual, I kept them warmer than normal to continue my color scheme but they still receded nicely. What is the usual tactic to create depth? One of the five ways to create depth is to cool the colors down as they recede in the distance but as you can see here, rules can be broken.

After moving back to New York from Florida, I saw colors in New York I had never noticed before. Were my eyes now trained to see these new colors or does the brain tell us that the colors are there?

We really don’t see color with our eyes but our brains. We actually see very little at all. Take a look at this video. Look at the three slides in the video… what do you see?

Do you see what I see? Click here for video.

No two people think alike which is why we have such different perspectives. In the last slide that the author showed, I didn’t see what she said most people saw, I saw a different variation. What did you see?

This is from the Pantone.com website…. “ Red, green and blue are the additive primary colors of the color spectrum. Combining balanced amounts of red, green and blue lights also produces pure white. By varying the amount of red, green and blue light, all of the colors in the visible spectrum can be produced.”

“Considered to be part of the brain itself, the retina is covered by millions of light-sensitive cells, some shaped like rods and some like cones. These receptors process the light into nerve impulses and pass them along to the cortex of the brain via the optic nerve.” So, the brain is processing and seeing what we are observing and it has an ability to process depending on our age and how we have exercised it.


Also, did you know that about 8% of men and 1% of women have some form of color impairment? . Most still perceive color, but certain colors are transmitted to the brain differently so what they notice is different than what others see.

My dad was color blind. I find it rather sad knowing how much color is a part of my world and he couldn’t really see what I did.

He, like most others who experience color blindness, couldn't tell the difference between red and green. Other people’s impairments might affect other color pairs. Luckily most of those affected do not have total color blindness.

We can see the reds in flowers and blues in the sky because we have specialized cells in our eyes called cones. Yet, if you have done any traveling you might have noticed how the blue sky looks different. Check out the light in Florida or come to Greece with me and let’s see if you notice the difference.

Join us for either a plein air workshop or color workshop in the studio (or both).

Expand your color vision in the Color and Energy workshops in FL, CA, NY and GREECE in 2019.

Click here to be updated on these upcoming workshops and to stay updated on more color tips.

Click below to choose which works for you.

Sarasota, FL - Nov. 2018, Feb. 2019, (more to come soon)

Near San Diego, CA (scheduling in progress) Contact me for more info.

Montgomery, NY (to be scheduled for summer 2019) Contact me for more info.

Greece (Sept. 21- 28, 2019). I’ve invited J. Baldini, founder of the International Plein Air Painters to conduct this workshop with me.

 Each day at sunrise and sunset the rainbow across the sky is the most evident. Start by looking for rainbows in the sky each time you look at the sky. Soon you will see that they are there across the entire sky and not just after a storm. There is so much more to share about color.

Each day at sunrise and sunset the rainbow across the sky is the most evident. Start by looking for rainbows in the sky each time you look at the sky. Soon you will see that they are there across the entire sky and not just after a storm. There is so much more to share about color.