Friday, 12 May 2017

Ways into Abstract Painting week 2: colour

An interesting days work on  week 2 of ' ways into abstract Painting'. 
We started off with 3 different sized brushes and the 3 primary colours  to describe circles/elipses, vertical and horizontal lines  of  a still life on a piece of paper that was moved round to give multiple viewpoints. I did something similar to this  on 'Develop your drawing'  course so you'd think I'd  have got the hang of it by now !  But it still  got  a bit confusing towards the end as the surface of the paper became covered!  If given the exercise again I think most of us would have made full use of the  broader brush rather than using it's edge   to give more variety to the marks.
 We'd been asked to bring a postcard/ image of a painting we liked for it's colour scheme. I brought  in a book with   work by Wilhelmina Barnes-Graham that I'd already worked from  but once the colour mixing/matching exercise was described  I opted to go for one of the  laminated copies of artworks   available  to reduce the chance of paint getting on the pages of the book.  Good advice as by the end of the day my   painting shirt had extra daubs on  both sleeves!

I chose  a painting by Ivon Hitchens - I couldn't find an image  of this particular one ' 'From a hilltop'  on the web but looking for it I was reminded how much I like his work and have added a couple of books to my   wishlist.  One of his paintings  is on the cover of one of my favourite  exhibition catalogues 'The experience of Landscape'  which with it's inspirational variety of images and poems in a compact size has accompanied me on many a journey since I acquired it nearly 30 years ago.  
We were asked to select about  8 colours in the painting and  mix them accurately from the paints provide ( cool/warm versions of primaries plus white) placing swatches on the edge of scraps of paper so we could hold the directly next to the colours on the painting (hence the need for a laminated image!) .
 I love colour wheels  and  mixing so had a delicious  and informative time  learning about his  unique colour palette  . Hence I was rather rushed  the next step  of using one of these colours to  knock back the white of the mornings first exercise before lunch
 After lunch work continued in  making something out of  these multiple viewpoints using the colour palette we'd developed in the morning. For most people  including me , this involved obliterating the red ( although I liked the glimpses showing through the layers )
 It went through several incarnations , being reminded of  the frustrations  from 'reading the paint surface ' of having to change an area that you like because it no longer works with the rest as the painting evolves!  In the end I don't think I made too bad a job of interpreting his colours  but it could still do with more tonal contrast - particularly his intense blacks ( trying to mix those was a revelation)  and the composition was pretty poor  . Monet's waterlilies kept coming to mind, not the effect I was after .
 I only had about 10 minutes before clearing up to  have a go at another exercise - producing a 'barcode'  analysis of a painting  with strips showing the proportions of  colour from dominant to accent . Reminded me of the DOMIN  scales  of cover/abundance  from  my plant survey  days!  I chose a painting by Ashile Gorky , an artist relatively new to me(I  first  saw some of his work at the Abstract Expressionism  exhibition) . I loved how  his colours were built up through layers  and tried to replicate this   with picking up several colours on the brush at the same time to get optical mixing .

 Lots to think about and try  at home  with my own paints and  favourite images. The printer and laminator are going to be busy....

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