Colour mixing for April

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My life needs simplifying!

The first two months of #365create I have taken a random approach; a drawing while out and about, photographs, parts of larger paintings, getting ready for the Studio Show… And while this gives a good glimpse of the variety of art related elements racing round my head, it means each day I have the question “What do I today?”

This can be the biggest stumbling block to beginning, especially if the possibilities are limitless.

Keeping up with #365create has been hard on some days. As I expected it could be. On days where I don’t have studio time planned, deciding what to do can be tricky as I’m not currently interested in figurative drawing to develop my painting approach. Quick daily drawings are fabulous for fine tuning your visual radar and how this translates to marks on the page, but it’s an approach I have taken in the past and I want to push myself in a new direction this year.

One thing I am interested in is colour. And value. And composition.

Daily Painting by Carol Marine book coverI have been reading Carol Marine’s excellent book on Daily Painting. One of the things I noticed is that she gives herself set limitations:
• The same small size
• A similar subject matter
• The same time each day

Carol uses still life set-ups as a basis to explore composition and explains by doing many small paintings she learnt more about composition as each day she could try something new with no fear of risk.

But often she spends up to two hours getting the arrangement right before she even begins painting… With two children currently on Easter holidays that isn’t going to be possible here!

What often sticks in my mind as I go through my day is colour: the bright red of a plastic caught against the grey branches of a tree, or the soft variations of greens.

So this month I’m keeping it simple. I will pick just three colours and white, mix a colour palette and create a small postcard sized painting.

In her book Carol talks about putting in the hours and makes the link between making music and making art. “If you were learning to play the piano, you would expect to put in hours of practice. And you would expect to play a whole bunch of awkward songs, painfully slowly. But you wouldn’t record the practice sessions, right?”

Well, I’m going to be braver than that as all my practice will be on show; everyday I will post to Instagram so you can see how I’m going, and the mini-paintings will go up in the gallery here. The aim of these pieces is learning! Exploring and testing are an important part of developing your creative approach but a part that can be hard. We usually wish to develop so many areas!

What am I hoping to discover?

Learn more about colour mixing

I know the principles of cool and warm colours and the colour wheel theory. But I admit that often in the heat of painting this knowledge can go out of the window. Sometimes this means areas of painting become muddy or don’t work quite as I planned.

Discover new colours

That sounds a bit crazy. There are millions of colours out there, how can there be new ones? But in colour mixing, as with other habits, we often fall into a rut. Picking up the same touch of Burnt Umber to darken our red, or laying out the same colours on the palette to begin with. So by limiting myself each day I hope to notice new colours in what can be mixed, and possibly new ways of mixing my favourites.

‘Find’ my colour palette

We all have certain colours we are drawn to, I know which colours I like to work with but by following the traditional paint layout the possibilities are so endless that I can mix anything! And that’s not always helpful. So it would be great to find my comfort zone and some exciting contrasts that can become my colour language…. we’ll see!

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