How adding vibrant color can transform a painting - Tips on Decorating and Painting - Portraits and Fine Art by Nancy Tilles

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How adding vibrant color can transform a painting

Published by Nancy Tilles in Painting tips · 6/12/2013 19:56:59
Tags: paintingships

How adding vibrant color can transform a painting

Featuring the work of Charles Bieser

Charles brought this beautiful unfinished night time painting of two ships to my class and asked me to critique it.  Although the painting was a great representation of a night time scene, I felt it could be made more exciting by the addition of vibrant color.  

Originally the scene, was painted in subtle variations of grays.  There was very little in the way of temperature change.  By altering the sky and including both warm and cool colors, the painting gained more depth.  Adding the orange tones to the water really brightened it up.  

This painting is a work in progress.  The ships, themselves, will be undergoing changes, both in detail and color.  I also suggested that Charles add some warm color to the ships themselves.  Since the ships are backlit, the warm color should not be overwhelming but the use of a bit more warmth and definition will only enhance the beauty of his painting. I am looking forward to seeing the completed painting!

I asked Charles to write a few word about his painting.

"I think I'll entitle the night scene "In Homage to Howard Sprague".  Howard Sprague was a  turn-of-the Century marine artist noted for his very fine portrayals of contemporary Great Lakes ships.  My painting is an "update" of a well-known Sprague scene, circa 1900, of two night boats passing one another in the Detroit River.  Here the excursion steamer PUT-IN-BAY, returning from a moonlight dance cruise just after 11:00 PM on a 1940's summer evening, passes  CITY OF CLEVELAND III, which has just departed Detroit for an overnight trip to Cleveland.  The Detroit River ferryboats of Sprague's era have been replaced by the soaring Ambassador Bridge, completed in 1929 to link Detroit with Windsor, Canada.  The basics for the painting are now in place but I still have some mistakes to correct and a number of details to add.

I started to paint about eight years ago (discounting art class from Ruth Herr in elementary school), taking classes from Linda McVey and Rita Butros at the Community Center, Gary Katz at the Lighthouse Center and Dennis Aufery at Armory Arts.  There have been others, and I've learned something from all, but I especially appreciate your instruction with color.  Your Wednesday morning class is the high point of my week!"

Charles Bieser is in my Wednesday painting class at Palm Beach Gardens Community Center.  There are two more classes left for this session on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  If you would like to join the class at this time, you are welcome to drop in!  

The new session begins in mid January on Tuesday, January 14th and/or Wednesday, January 15th. Classes are taught once a week in the morning at 9:30 am - 12:30 pm. Class size is limited and individualized instruction is offered. Beginners through advanced painters are welcome!

Days: Choice of Tuesdays or Wednesdays (once a week)
Time: 9:30 am -12:30 am : Palm Beach Gardens Recreation Center, 4404 Burns Road, Palm Beach Gardens

Instructor: Nancy Tilles: see website:

To register for classes call 561-630-1100.  

view the more of the artist's paintings visit:

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