Color Wheeling

Untitiled: 52″ x 40″.  I started this last night… so it’s not done yet, but just showing you what’s going on in studio 412.

Life is so busy!  Phew!   It’s self-inflicted.  I’m still over here trying to get together my feaux taxidermy unicorn heads for August 29th.  They’ll be going up at the Dirty Truth… Hopefully.  e(eek)

I’ve got a whole solo exhibit for September 1 to get done.  The show will be at the lovely Hope & Feathers Gallery in Amherst, MA.   3 commissioned paintings to finish up, while trying to actually sell stuff right now because I’m running out of all funds to even get more paint.  I had some set backs this month  and three weeks of visitors staying with me (who i love love).  It is difficult to organize myself and stay on task.  HOw?! How do people do this if you are not a type A person?  I have started  5 new paintings in the last 3 days and I’m just going ahead and  starting on 4  today.

This is going to be quite a month.  Luckily I am fully amped to paint!  Sometimes however, the more I paint, the more I find things in painting that I’m forgetting to utilize and also look more into.  In the past days, it has been the Color Wheel.


I have been really inspired by painting underwater themes currently because of the effect of light being broken and bent through the surface of water is mesmerizing and beautiful.  it doesn’t hurt that I was on the swim team for seven years, am a certified scuba diver and it’s summer!   Western Mass swimming holes and near and dear family and friends = joy.  Sun on skin warming fill your heart with light and water and ice cream! JOY!

Mostly I’m an impressionistic painter.  I found a very generic explanation for this word on WebMuseum:  The impressionist style of painting is characterized chiefly by concentration on the general impression produced by a scene or object and the use of unmixed primary colors and small strokes to simulate actual reflected light.

This method of painting is another joy for me in trying to depict the transient effects of light and color.  This is a bare bones explanation.  However, not because it’s so complicated and intellectual, more for the reason that sometimes when I’m painting, I’m just going at it and it’s easier to start with general shapes and colors and work into the details over time.  
Vocabulary terms don’t necessarily encompass the human approach to painterly expression, but they are great places to start.

Anyway,  as I put more studio time in trying to study the effects of light and then just making my own adjustments, I get a little muddy.  So when this happens, I am referring to how other painters address the depiction of light.  Often times, the most visually satisfying compositions use the juxtaposition of complemetary colors.  These colors are opposites on the color wheel.  Opposite colors create the maximum contrast with one another. You can work out the opposite color to any primary color by taking the other two primaries and mixing them together. The result will be its opposite or ‘complementary’ color.

The result of using these opposites are  visully stunning.  I’m amazed at how my artists of inspiration combine color to achieve their painterly effects.  I think of this akin to learning language.  One may study language to investigate the structure of words to translate thoughts and communication and decipher meaning.  With color,  there is a need to study the different colors that exist and in what combination to recreate them for a composition.  I am relearning how to be more aware of my color decisions and using the right color for mark making as I look more into the refraction of light through water in my underwater worlds.

The color selection process doesn’t have to be perfect…hah!  What!?  Art is about trial and experimentation over here in this studio and trial and happy accidents, and grumbling accidents.  But the trick for me has come from organizing color selections to achieve complementary colors that work.   Today, it’s feeling a little rough, so I’m back at the drawing board investigating the color wheel and experimenting with color by looking at how light bends through water and disperses on surfaces.  I don’t achieve it to the most satisfactory way I would love most, and maybe I’ll try to be nicer to myself about that… maybe.  At times it is difficult to leave the stresses at the door and focus on the immediate .

I’m sharing some of the Works in Progress here that I am trying to complete for my first solo exhibition of works at the Hope and Feathers Gallery in September.  I’ve been puytting my underwater camera to work and incorporating photo shoots into summer.


About scoutcuomo

Charcoal dust and eraser shavings, oil bars and sketch books, wood, gold pray paint, resin, overly soft blankets, and turpentine, feathers and coffee grinds.


  1. Nora

    I was mindlessly searching on etsy and found you. Your work is amazing!! I am a swimmer and love that feeling I get when I’m in the water. You have captured it perfectly. Trying to figure out which print of yours to buy now.

    Keep painting!

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