Posts

This is the week that spring has sprung! Walking on Monday morning the sunshine was welcome on my face and it made realise just how long it had been since I had felt that warm glow – and how GOOD it felt!

Funny, how sometimes we don’t know what we are missing until we get reminded about it.

Kandinsky quote colour influence soul

I headed off on Monday (an extra leap year day!) to see an exhibition at the Mall Galleries. The exhibitions there are admittedly not the most cutting edge, but they are usually open submission shows from various art societies with different judges on the selection panel so they offer a broad range of current work, on a sensible scale that you may actually want in your home.

Yellow tape marks and gridThe current exhibition was for The Pastel Society. I may have been a bit abrupt and dismissed pastels as grannyish. Pastel vases flowers? No thanks! But recently I have found that I’ve been using them more in drawings and sketchbooks  in combination with other materials (more next week…) so I wanted so see what was going on in pastel land. I spotted maybe three artists whose work I particularly enjoyed, but three is enough to prompt some new ideas and wake me up to the possibilities. My mistake about pastels. Love making mistakes like this!

 

 

IMG_7031As I walked afterwards through London in the sunshine (always a treat!) I was just wandering towards an art supply shop and taking a few photos of things that caught my eye; these taped yellow markings on the windows of a construction site – warnings? Stars, in a row, but all different….

 

 

 

 

IMG_7047Later in the week I joined an Instagram challenge following a word prompt each day and on Thursday it was “yellow” . Noticing; that’s what it’s all about; once I knew I was on the look out for yellow I saw it everywhere… my image for that day was the soft yellow against the white stripe of brickwork. Sun over a built horizon? Random additions to a man made structure…

I even recognised that yellow had been with me all week, in the images I had captured previously. Making these visual links, and seeing how they surface, often a while later, is one of the great joys of making art.

Looking at art makes you see things in a new way. So here is my yellow story of the week: sunshine, abstract shapes, small flashes of colour in my urban environment, and highlights of yellow and blue in the current early stages of work on the easel. Watch out for the sunshine – it makes you feel great!!

On the easel Alice Sheridan

To keep up with regular images you can catch me on Instagram here.

If you like the look of this work in progress, make sure you are first to know when finished work goes on sale by joining for studio updates below:

Colour mixing Day 60Burnt Umber

Manganese Blue

Hansa Yellow Light

My first colour choice was completely random. Although nothing is really random so something must have directed me… Ok then…

Burnt Umber: because it is a staple colour and I needed somthing dark.

Manganese Blue: I bought this one day to replace a Cerulean as they both fall into the cool blue category. They both act as an almost perfect cyan primary and are great for mixing brighter greens. Manganese is supposed to be a denser colour but you’ll notice I was using a fluid version.

Fluid paints offer a higher flow while still retaining a high pigment load so you don’t get any ‘watering down’ of pigment you may get if you added extra medium to a heavier body paint. Until recently I had never used them but frustration with unscrewing tube lids led me to try this as the lid is a simple flip off. In this case it worked well so loosen up the other paints but I wouldn’t buy fluid paints as my preference as on their own they feel as though they limit the marks you can make with them.

Hansa Yellow Light: This was also as a tested replacement for Cadmium Lemon, a very cool yellow. Hansa yellows were first made in Germany before World War I using organic pigments that remain lightfast but have a high transparency. They make instense and clean colours when mixed and can be used as glazing layers because of their transparency.

If you’d like further information for choosing yellows you can find more on this  Gamblin colours page (although they are talking about oil paints)

The results?

Bright vivid greens, as expected. Probably too bright for anything I would usually use, but then you never know…. it’s always easier to tone down a colour hue by adding a touch of the opposite, but impossible to brighten one up so it’s good to know where to go when bright is what you are after!

The Manganese Blue is a beautiful colour and mixes with the Burnt Umber to create some good dark teals and turquoise when mixed with white. (I used Titanium White throughout the month)

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!