NOTE: I'm printing the final half of this conversation first since, if you scroll on these things you'll miss certain points. The introduction will be in the above post. This is my reply to Tara with a little follow up.
"Hey Tara, it's a great question, and one I've thought about quite a bit in the past couple of years as I sit alone in the studio.
Colour is incredibly important in my work, but it's the simplicity of the colour that is important. I use only about five colours when I work, I use, white, black, prussian blue, raw sienna and burnt umber ( a little bit of yellow ochre) and if it needs it (like the tip of an axe) a red highlight. This choice is something that has evolved over time. If you flash through an album of my paintings you see the same colours occuring in different densities and mixtures over and over again.I worry about the colour of my "subjects" hair more than anything, it's what looks best against the sky and how it contrasts with the ground, waves, wheat, rocks etc.
The majority of my figures have hair that ranges from brown to black, and then I add a highlight to it. If the sky is more grey than blue, chances are the figures hair will be blonde. It's the compliment of the colours that make these decisions and really nothing else. I have varied shades of skin tones but yes, the figures are predominently caucasian, I have painted other races in my work, but I don't feel it's representative of me, I'm sure that if the image needed a figure of a different colour/race to be used, that is what I'd do without a second thought.
Thematically the colour of a subject, plays no role in my work, it's colourblind casting in 2D, I just paint a heck of a lot of white people.
I'm not sure if this is a complete answer, but I would enjoy continuing this discussion here.
Tara Beagan replies
"Incredibly interesting. thank you! i'll chew on this, with relish. it's beautiful to hear you speak (write) of your colours. makes me wonder what the writerly equivalent is. "
(And then we just started joking around about how I do descriminate against birds as crows are cooler than pigeons.)
As always the Opening for, "Come On Pilgrim" at the Cameron House is Sunday, May 2nd from 5-8 pm with the Ron Leary Band.