I have been studying color, off and on intensely, and it is still confusing to me. I will look at a color I just painted and wonder, “How did I come up with thaaaat? What if I had to repeat that color? Could I do it?” After painting nearly daily for almost twenty years and building lots of charts for familiarization, it still escapes me to put into words how to get to a special color. Is it possible that there is no verbal explanation for sensory intelligence? Is there a deeper, non logical, sense or cognitive method that takes a painter to a certain color? How does that painter know what colors to begin with in order to mix and locate a specific tone, shade or tint?
I just don’t know. But I do know this: Practice, practice and more practice helps a lot. It awakens the ‘color muscle’ and tones it up. It even makes it strong.
I have been working on developing this 3 day workshop for over two months . . .even with the open studio preparations. A few hours here and there, then for the last week, nine and ten hour days in the studio practicing, developing exercises, explanations, puzzles and all sorts of applications for a set of ten colors to 12 colors . . . .every day!
M. Graham, a small, privately owned paint company in Oregon, has agreed to sponsor this workshop. As I have been working with these colors they provided, I am continuously surprised and amazed, over and over, at the density of the pigment and how predictable their paints are. ( I don’t know why I am amazed. I have been using their paints for a few years!) They manufacture lines of watercolor, acrylic, oil and gouache. And they are no strangers to this business! They ‘get it’ about what painters need and want . . . .and they cut the romance and meaningless statements out of their marketing approach. They simply make the best paint available. AND they are continually looking to make better what they already do. For example, the cadmium red pigment they use is chosen so that it is not absorbable through the skin! Their oil paints are made without toxic oils or solvents. Using walnut oil, they seek to produce a superior, non toxic product. They want to protect the painter and still provide a superior product that delivers clean, saturated color. My hat is off to the owners and the noble stand they make for quality and health protection. Moreover, they have created in me a steadfast loyalty that will not be easily shaken. Thank you, M. Graham, for your generosity and for your conscience!! I know 25 people who will be blown away by your product!
To make this workshop more than just theory, we are bringing Graham’s pigments to the workshop participants. This session won’t be casual theory, for sure! I made (and hand painted) 7 sets of 13 different colored wooden blocks for the exercises, explanations and painting practice. (you can see them in the photo above). As I am playing around and looking at these blocks in different combinations, suddenly the lessons I am teaching are sitting before my eyes in 3D!! Incredible realizations are appearing in ways I could never explain! These blocks will give hands on manipulations of color relationships! Color relationships is what this whole workshop is about; putting theory, lessons and perceptions to work by applying them in our paintings. (I can’t believe that I am attempting this in three days!!!).
As always, when the starting line is in sight, I begin to tighten up and get a bit nervous. I am still adjusting and tweaking the lessons and trying to keep them lively and effective. In the end, after one or two of these classes, I will have the feedback necessary to can the workshop or perfect it. I am hoping that this group of 25 painters will walk through the door at the end of the third day with new perspectives, attitudes and enlightenment about their use of color. In fact, I hope they get down right excited about this stuff!
Onward to the starting line!!!