Caribbean color palettes: High key on the high seas

Whimsical Caribbean color palette inspired by travels with McCall's Quilting cruise 2013

Whimsical Caribbean color palette inspired by travels with McCall’s Quilting cruise 2013

I had heard of the brightly colored houses on the island of Jamaica, and now I’ve seen it for myself. Island people really do paint their homes and buildings like this.

High key color is a term describing a set of hues with most values in the middle to lighter side of the scale. The resulting mix is light, happy and sunny. A few dark values actually become the accents in a group like this.

Fatata te mipi (delectable waters) by Paul Gauguin, 1892

Fatata te mipi (delectable waters) by Paul Gauguin, 1892

Lower key tropical color palette

Lower key tropical color palette

Contrast this with Gauguin’s painting made while on the island of Tahiti. Dark values dominate, contrasted by the medium value figures with only a few light values as highlights. The effect is very dramatic and mysterious. Look closely, though, and you will see a similar palette in the Gauguin painting as the palette above, minus several hues at the high key end of the scale. His choices are rich and deep.

Tropical Mountain painting sketch, 12 x 12 acrylic and Photoshop, Karen Gillis Taylor 2013

Tropical Mountain painting sketch, 12 x 12 acrylic and Photoshop, Karen Gillis Taylor 2013

This abstract painting has languished in the studio for a couple of years. It looked like an island and the sea to me, but I felt lost when trying to finish it. Everything is different now that I have seen Jamaica and it’s mountains! Little did I know that I would be traveling there and the painting would make so much more sense to me.  If I have visited a place, I feel much more ready to paint a scene like this, even if it’s abstract in nature.

What do you think of the island color palettes?

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4 Responses to “Caribbean color palettes: High key on the high seas”

  1. Caroline Jobe Says:

    i LOVE the tropical colour palette. i have been painting exotic scenes a lot. thanks

    Like

  2. Sarah Schultz Says:

    This is a beautiful painting and so different from your night scenes, and cityscapes. You are certainly expanding your abilites which I love about your work. Keep up the good work, Karen.
    My husband does genealogy and has found that both our families originated in Germany.Since we are in our early 70″s roots are more important than ever.
    Hope you can go back to Italy in the near future.

    Like

    • karen Says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, Sarah. I’ll keep painting. 🙂 Can’t stop now!
      Family roots are so intriguing, I’m sure you enjoyed your discovery of yours.
      Best, Karen

      Like

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