|Beyond The Rocks image size approx 11 x 14 matted to 14 x 18-available|
It's likely that as long as I continue to make art, I will always think of myself as a "beginner" or "learner." These labels have to do with my personality of course but they also relate to what I do in the studio. Much of my efforts are directed towards learning: learning about art history and movements, discovering different genres of art making, learning how to use my materials, and exploring design. It's all new to me really, each experience. Sometimes I apply learning that came from a happy accident and sometimes I do something and wonder why I keep making the same mistakes over and over again. At times I am confidant but more often than not I question my abilities (and sanity!). It's all part and parcel of who I am and what I like to do with my time, which is to make art. It's really all an investment in "me" if you think about it.
An investment like this can bring results. One of the best payoffs so far has been in the area of color. I really enjoy learning how to use it and moreover, how to appreciate it as a component of design. Color is very complex though. Over the past several years I have heard from many people that color scares them. That statement always stops me in my tracks. Afraid? Hmmm... Well, I can now see why. It's the unknown and the complexity of the subject. But practice helps with this. The practice can prompt questions about color: Is the hue more blue or more green? What other colors is it next too? What does the color remind me of? In the comparison of two similar mixtures, which one is more green and which one is more blue? How can I enhance the color with another color? This list of questions is endless. And the answers are often surprising and along the lines of, "Hey, I didn't see that coming!" I have tried to help myself as much as I can. Doing lots of work with different proportional relationships of just a few colors at a time has been helpful. I have lots of tools to color with: crayons, pencils, chalk pastels, paints, and markers. (I use them too!) I have a little set of cards showing different colors and their names, countless books with color wheels, books on theory, and of course all of the time spent in my outdoor environment, sketching and making color swatches. This list goes on too.
The most recent thing I have added has been colored construction paper. Go ahead and laugh but it's unbelievably helpful in placing colors side by side to see what they do to each other. You can easily compare two blues or two reds and think about underlying color bias, one of my favorite topics! You can test out something in your painting prior to actually painting it. You can work with chroma, with value, and other color properties. The paper is cheap and it is a very versatile tool.
For the above piece, I used construction paper, both painted and unpainted, to get my composition together. I specifically used it to test out the color and chroma (saturation) of the color of the sun. Rather than painting and repainting, I simply cut circles of colored paper to see what worked for me. Not only did this work well in composing this piece but it also limits your choices a bit. It makes your decisions much more succinct. No room to mess around. Plus, the bonus is that little leftover bits can be used in collages. Because I don't have anything particular in mind, I am not constrained in my thinking. Anything goes with the collages. They are just for fun and just for learning.
Hope the week gets off to a good start for everyone. Thanks for reading and commenting.