Yesterday I went to my third painting-oriented color workshop. I have been feeling painting-ed-out, and it was getting harder to enjoy the experience, but we learned some neat tricks.
Today's focus was on the emotive element of colors, and we studied this side of Van Gogh: Fauvism, Expressionism, Minimalism, and probably a couple of more isms, and their use of color and brush strokes. That's pretty much everything after naturalistic painting in the Western world, though we didn't dwell too much on Impressionism or Pointillist techniques.
One of the tricks was to take a picture from a magazine, or a photocopy, and paint over them in totally different colors. A good place to start is to use complementary colors. Above was my first attempt, and you can see it's a normal sea/rocks/sky photograph, and I only painted areas in colors that didn't represent those things in life. We also did faces, a la Matisse, though I was too timid and colored inside the lines, but others who used fat brushes and went almost Picasso-esque were more successful.
It's quick and fun and you can even do it while you sit next to your loved one watch a boring TV show. Because I didn't have to worry about shapes and proportions, I could really concentrate on coming up with strange color combinations. This is called "appropriation" in the art world, I learned, and is a valid form of painting practice. Imagine that!
Then we were let loose. Some painters, (and it's getting to be a small group of familiar faces,) tried different-color-and-brush-strokes versions of their own paintings, while others reworked paintings and photographs in their own way. We also tried painting with plastic forms and knives and credit cards instead of brushes. One woman was using her fingers a lot. As did I.
I lost the plot early on and worked on a triptych of the interior of the classroom, with the right side being very dark (called "rejection") to the middle one showing some light and the far left piece showing more light. The classroom has bright red doors, muted brown-gray blinds and white and almost-white-gray walls, so I thought it'd be a good set of frames in which to pile on colors through the windows to express the lifting mood, but the weather kept changing and I was in a darker mood than I had thought, so my paintings came out dull and uninspiring. The process was therapeutic, though.
That's the end of the painting color courses. There is one more color workshop, taught by an interior designer, and I'm hoping I get to relax and enjoy this one, though most of the painters won't be coming back.