17 July 2013

Ways into abstract painting - day 2

I managed to leave my camera at home! It was a day of mixing paint, matching colours, thinking about colour palettes. I experienced many moments of frustration - not mixing up enough paint, for example, and then having the challenge of mixing another batch to match the first, which had been arrived at by trial and error... 

The first task was to mix up a neutral grey and cover a sheet of paper - which we then left to dry, ready for the afternoon's task. One thing that interested me was seeing not only the tutor mixing paint - she gave a demo, with washing and wiping the brush before dipping it into another colour, and adding only a little colour to the mix each time - but seeing how the others did it. Technical details like that can be a barrier to getting to grips with the medium - you feel all fingers and thumbs, and can't imagine that everyone felt like that at first.

We had brought along a postcard of a painting whose colours attracted us - a wide range, from Hockney to Chagall, with a few lesser-known artists in between.
The colours on my postcard of one of Picasso's "Meninas" are more subtle than in the image (from the Picasso Museum in Barcelona). I ended up with three reds, three greens, three yellows, the pale background, and the black, painted in stripes on a second sheet of paper, proportional to the colours' use in the original.

Once that was done, the task was to cut up the stripes and use them "somehow" to make a collage of shapes on the neutral background we had painted earlier. Although we had the colours, and could have been picking up clues from our source material, I found this task like being dropped in a vacuum - what, exactly, to do? The idea was NOT to make a picture. 

The results are still up on the walls of the studio, and I will make every effort to bring my camera today!

Coming across this image, Peter Doig's "Pelican (Stag)" in the newspaper this morning
my first thought was "what a great colour palette" - so something definitely clicked yesterday, despite (or perhaps because of?) the frustration.

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