Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Understanding Colour Palettes

 I have finally had some time back in the studio, but as I have been working mainly on my work for the Monthly Painters Challenge and the reveal isn't until the 15th of the month, I can't share pictures or progress, but I am happy with how it is coming along. I am especially enjoying revisiting using acrylics and challenging myself to try to do something different and approach the topic, though after a very long time away from acrylics, that in itself is proving a challenge.

One of the things I am enjoying about the process of the Painters Challenge is that it is making me think about my work in ways I haven't thought about it in years. While I am doing Botanical projects there are definite rules and ideas to adhere to, and while it is still inevitable that your personal style will emerge, it is set by the boundaries of realism and the depiction of form. I enjoy these restrictions most of the time, and while I see that it has helped my graphic skills, I constantly struggle with depicting pinks and purples, and I have been challenging myself to work in this palette this year, though I am nowhere near mastering them yet and still have to do a lot of work on the layers and tonal work before I feel comfortable working on them for a piece of work.

I was sketching the palms in the front garden recently , which I have shown above, and this led me to flick back through my sketch book, which made me realise that I have always worked in very natural shades, and have a very definite palette of blues, greens, browns and oranges. Whether it is a mixed media work from January this year, like the piece to the right, or older work from a few years back, I couldn't find one piece of work in the pink or purple range, and suddenly I understood why the purple poppies have taken so long, while the orange poppy took minutes by comparison. It was also very quick to complete the tulips, but as they also fall within the reds and oranges which have for years formed the basis of so many collages.

 Now that I realise this, it of course seems very obvious, and I feel as though I can be a bit easier on myself regarding the frustrations that I feel when working on some flowers, and can better understand the relief I feel when working on stems and leaves. I hope that at some stage I will feel as comfortable in the palette of pinks and purples, as I do in the natural tones and it will be interesting to see if as I become more comfortable in those colours if they start to show up in my mixed media and collage work, or whether the pinks will remain only in my botanical palette.                                  

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