Co-Chair Marilyn Froggatt’s October, 2020 Newsletter

Posted October 6, 2020

Contrast in painting and in life

HIDDEN VALLEY JOSHUA TREE II Oil on Panel 16 x 20 x 2 Available $500.00 USD

BORREGO CHOLLA Oil on Panel 18 x 24 x 2 Available $500.00 USD

Contrast – noun


The state of being strikingly different from something else in juxtaposition or close association. “the day began cold and blustery, in contrast to almost two weeks of uninterrupted sunshine”


In an artist’s work, contrast is one of the most important aspects of a painting. Artists work from a value scale that ranks colors on a scale of 1-10. 1 is the lightest color and 10 is the darkest. In the early days of learning my craft, I worked endlessly on trying to learn this important skill. To make things even more complicated, try working on contrast when you are dealing in colors rather than black and white. The background will always be lighter, my teachers would tell me. Is that correct? It depends.


Contrast can emphasize a certain part of a painting. For example, the yellows and oranges of the tree’s fall colors will pop if you superimpose these colors onto a darker, less vibrant background.


People vary in the amount of emotional contrast they are comfortable with. I’m sure you’ve met those who say they see life only in “black and white.” No gray tones; no middle ground. Actually, in artistic terminology, they are seeing things somewhere on a scale of 1-10. To them, everything is either a 1 or a 10. To complicate, everyone sees (interprets) things differently so the scale will never be just a 1 or a 10.


Humans also equate their moods with colors. On the emotional side of things excellent and good news could considered a 1 or on the light side. A loss, or a set back could be anywhere from 5-10, depending on the situation (darker color) What if people asked, how are you, and you answered back, I’m ok, or, pretty good, which sounds just about a value of 5. Nothing stressful is happening. But then some people like a lot of drama in their lives. You know the type. Their world is always in a state of anxiety, variation and change. Also, lots of sad stories. If there is nothing happening they become bored. So is that a 5 or more like a 7 or 8?


Opposites attract. People aren’t attracted to someone just like themselves. You’re the saver in the family and the partner is a spendthrift. That’s called contrasting personalities. At first it can be interesting, but can lead to conflict later on. So maybe contrast is better in paintings than it is in life. But wouldn’t life be dull without the pain and conflict that make us learn all sorts of new things? Figuring out contrast in life is no easier than in a painting.

Thanks for reading. If you would like more information about any of my paintings, please contact me through this website

Marilyn Froggatt

Here’s a schedule of my upcoming shows and galleries in October:


Riverside Museum of Art

“Virtual Off the Wall”

October 23-28, 2020


Mountain Arts Network

Arrowhead Village, CA

Open 11-3 Wed. – Sun.


Borrego Art Institute

“The Art of Flora and Fauna”

October 3 – 25, 2020

Gallery open Fri. 10-1, Sat. 10-3, Sun. 10-1