In this painting from my Gervais Street Bridge series, I was experimenting with colors and shapes. I liked the arches under the bridge and the “keyhole” shape of the opening. By using a purple color scheme for the bridge and an intense complementary yellow-green on the distant foliage, I brought the background forward and emphasized the negative space between the bridge supports.
This type of color arrangement flattens the picture plane. That is, it doesn’t create visual depth with muted colors in the background. It also emphasizes the negative space, creating uncertainty about what is the subject of the painting. I find that this type of experiment helps me think more about composition and abstraction as I move away from local color.