Sometimes people inadvertently impose all sorts of rules upon themselves in making art. Art is supposed in the popular imagination to be “free,” yet artists succumb to the usual doubts and frictions of life that lead to rules — “never do this, always do that.”

 I recall hearing someone or other tell me that you need a certain amount of light or certain kind of light to be able to paint. Certainly you should not paint in light so dim that you cannot see the colors. Yet that is exactly what I did with this duck. I painted it (from a photo — another no-no) in light dim enough that I only knew my colors from the lables on the tubes.

I did know
I was making the water green. But other relationships were not so obvious. And consequently the colors (though not the tones) of this little painting are exaggerated. And that’s what I like about it.
Matisse painted very exaggerated colors in optimal light. But you can paint in poor light as well — especially when you are being curious — when you are just making an image to see where it leads.

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