Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Textiles 1 Stage 3 exercises 3 and 4

Well, after the last attempt to match colours I was a bit reluctant to try again. But, aware of the time passing, I picked a different postcard today - one with lots of bright artificial colours from the British Museum's life and death gallery. I cut out a section of it, rather than masking it, because it seemed a more effective way to prevent distraction.

The central image is Cradle to Grave - detail of pills
Created by Susie Freeman, Dr Liz Lee & David Critchley
British Museum Dept of Ethnography
copyright 2011 www.pharmacopoeia_art.net
It is a photo of different kinds of pills under a transparent wavy sheet.

I found the greys easy to do, and it was interesting how many different variations of grey there were in such a small area. (the colours have not photographed accurately). the browns and greens were also doable, although I found that their water content got higher and higher as I mixed, so eventually the colours were almost washed out. This was disappointing and rather frustrating to me.
When I got to the pink pill, I mixed a large number of variations of purples to find it, and whatever I did  I couldn't match the violent violet pink that made up the strongest colour in the central pill. Whenever I got close, and added white, it turned muddy.

As a result of this experience, and the last one, I realised that I had to learn more about mixing gouache, and about mixing colours in general.  I asked a friend who had done an art foundation course not long ago, and she reassured me that it is not a simple thing to mix colours, and that the most difficult part of it is seeing the colours as they are rather than as you think they are (as implied in the course work file).

I went back to the suggested reading book - Colour A workshop for artists and designers Second edition by David Hornung 2012 Laurence King Publishing. I re-read Part One 'seeing colour' and Part Two 'first principles'. I find that violet is noted as the only colour that you cannot make a clear version of using the 6 primaries, which could explain my problem with the postcard exercise above. (Although it doesn't explain the problem I had making the blue in the previous attempt). Part Three 'materials and techniques' showed me the mistakes I had been making when trying to mix designers gouache, and I think/ hope solved the over-diluting problem for me (by explaining that you mix in the water first, before combining the colours).

The first chromatic grey study from Colour A workshop,
done using old newspaper. Approaching colour mixing
in this way let me appreciate how much I have already learned
about mixing colours, and to relax about it a bit more.

Doing this, very different, kind of colour study made me feel more relaxed about trying out the next exercise in the course work. I picked an apple and a pencil to put on some yellow paper because it seemed to give me a variety of surfaces and shadows to match the colours to. Making it look like the shapes of the objects made it a lot more rewarding to do.

Colour study from life for Exercise 4

After a series of exercises that I found difficult and felt I wasn't getting anywhere much, I had a change of perspective with this one. While I was doing it I realised that the mixing of the colour was less of an issue than the SEEING of the colour in each of the various parts of the set-up.

I was pleased with the changes of colour on the yellow paper with the shadows. I was surprised to find that right next to the pencil appeared lighter than areas further away; that there was a line of shining pale separating this from the darker shadow; that the shadow under the apple really was various shades of purple, and that the relative darkness of parts of the pencil were not predictable (by me at least). I didn't get the green of the apple quite right. I think it should have been yellower overall.

I think I need to have more practice at this, and I want to do some more of the colour workshop exercises. But given the fact that I have spent longer than I should on the colour section of this stage, I will have to do these things as sketchbook work while I get on with the next stage.

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