Sunday, August 24, 2008

Colors

Ugh, I hate thinking about colors. I know a whopping majority of you weavers would writhe to think of a fellow weaver who isn't thrilled, even giddy and delirious, about colors; c'est moi.

I took a short correspondence course on colors in 2000 through the New Zealand national guild. It was a hard slog, (Nancy's wading through it right now), and though I enjoyed learning the theory, combinations and terminology, I now have a permanent pair of tinted glasses without which I cannot "observe" colors, yet my knowledge is minimal I can't understand/describe in those terms what I see. Or, the left brain can't allow the right brain to jump up and clap its tiny gray hands when it sees something pretty, and instead has to butt in and analyze why it produces a pleasing effect, to legitimatize the right-brain/gut-feeling appreciation. Alas, I don't want to spend the rest of my life leaning about colors, when I could be weaving.

This is one game my left and right halves can never play nicely together, but I need them to, to progress to dyeing.

So it is that with trepidation I went to my second Color Workshop yesterday; this time the tutor was ex-Polytech tutor, modernist painter and friend Errol Shaw. This guy is a deep man, and I might have walked into the workshop ready to be balled over by his philosophical observations and modernist inclinations, but I found he is a proper teacher, and I appreciated his allusions to music and cooking to make a point about colors and paintings. Needless to say, the rest of the class consisted of painters, some very experienced, and they were familiar with colors and color names commonly used on paint tubes. ("Ultramarine" is the only one I knew.) I did find the mood of the class overly painting-centric, (what else he could have done), in using tube names and specific properties of the tube-name-color, Needless to say, this was much appreciated by the others. However, he knows what I do, and he's seen some of my pieces, so when it came to individual instructions, he was able to speak to me at my level, and even better, he asked me what I liked/disliked about the experiments and how I thought I could improve on them, and he confirmed/corrected my observations and prompted me to do more.

I think after a good night's sleep I appreciate his instructions more than I did last night. My classmate Jo (also in my figure drawing) is going to see if a workshop of a recurring kind can be set up; regardless, I might go see him for private critiques so I can add a bit of spark to my weaving.

In Rose Shepherd's workshop I experienced pleasure because I stuck to abstract experiments; this time I had collected what I thought were as abstract materials, but I was unconsciously emulating those around me and spent much too much energy and time trying to make the experiments descriptive, and wasted valuable time. So, no pictures. And more homework.

What we learned yesterday were the eight color compositions: color-wheel-based, chromatic, achromatic, monochromatic, naturalistic, spatial, optical, and selected palettes. Most importantly, these are not mutually exclusive or clear-cut, but often overlap.

Next workshop is titled "Color and Expression"; the blurb says; "This workshop will to allow you to explore your personal and cultural response to colour through a series of creative exercises." That's going to be a loaded experience for me, I know it: I'd better start massaging my right brain now so I set myself up to enjoy it.

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