Exploring Color: Part one - Following the Rules

I will admit it, I'm completely addicted to taking classes. There is no better way to invigorate your work than to explore new ideas or techniques and converse with other artists. I have spent the last 2 weeks in Este Mc Leod's Explore Colour class, and it has been so full of information, it will take me months to absorb and incorporate it all into my own work.

In this course we used Golden Fluid Acrylics, which were new to me. I have fallen in love with the luminosity of the colors and the layered glazing technique we used with these paints. Using a matte medium, you layer the color on, giving a richness and texture to the color that I love. The medium allows the color to be transparent, allowing you to see texture and colors beneath, much like watercolor, but with more intensity of color.

 Project 1 - Still life with Limes

Project 1 - Still life with Limes

We learned to build the painting up from a loose, abstract base layer, very similar to the "doodle start" I had learned with Linda Hendrickson. Este works intuitively, and told us that sometimes when she begins a painting, she does not have a plan for whether it will be a still life or landscape. She just starts painting and waits to see what will appear to her in the initial layers. I have been very interested in bringing this kind of intuition and spontaneity into my work, so I was excited to learn more about Este's method. I had played a little with this idea last year in the background of my Giraffe painting, and lately have been interested expanding on those ideas.

For the first two projects I followed the videos very closely, because the painting techniques were so new to me. There was so much information in the videos, I watched them many times and caught something new in each and every viewing. Even though we followed step by step instructions, I was amazed at how different all my classmate's work was. No two paintings were the same, even when we all started with the same base layer and instructions.

 Project 2 - Still life with Pears.

Project 2 - Still life with Pears.

For me, the first two paintings were really all about becoming accustomed to the materials and learning the techniques. This method of painting involves a great deal of focus on the negative spaces (the space around the objects), and building up layers of paint. I learned to slow way down, and think twice before applying the paint. I had to resist doing things out of habit and see them in a new way. It is always good to stretch yourself in this manner, because you never know what you will discover when you look at something in a new way.

The third and fourth projects, for me, have been more about slowing down even further and finding my own way. I am still working on these paintings, and will write a post about them when I am finished. These two paintings will now go out of sight for a week, then hang on my studio wall for a week, so I can see any changes that I would like to make.