Bewitched by Colour - Painting in Colour

Posted by Jac Slaney on


I have spent my life in black and white studying greys. My obsession with colour meant that I needed to extricate it from my career palette in order to draw. To draw in detail, to observe, to edit, to mark and mark again. The employment of colour would confuse my goal, so it was purposefully ignored. When I did introduce colour into my work it was restrained, limited and controlled. Only one colour at a time. Its role was functional - to pop!



Creativity is energising. I'm having fun experimenting with relationships and exploiting the dynamics of colours - always learning and enriching my portfolio. This excitement is nurturing - my curiosity sparked - enquiries into 'what if?'.  I'm not interested in slumber, but being awakened inside to discover new and more. Experimentation means that mistakes are plenty and have be worked through - I expect to go wrong sometimes. It is calling on my depth of experience to find solutions and execute them. The mastery of techniques and materials is a lesson for life, so curiosity is helpful and perseverance too. Getting older helps as one's inner voice reminds one that 'you can do this - keep going'.



Now that I am indulging in paint, I am wallowing in colour - luxuriating in all the millions of nuances and hues.  The joy of creating thick, multi-layered colours, embracing impasto painting with relish, has engineered a sense of freedom unknown before. Yes, my paintings are experiences that envelop the viewer - emotional responses laced with energy. Just as with my drawings, the more you look the more you see, but with paint it is very much a physical event. The quality of the paint assists in the translation of different narratives. The viewing distance alters the experience significantly. The paintings are invitingly tactile with textured surfaces - multiple layers of paint on paint, colour on colour.  The depth is vital, for it resonates the emotion that I am layering and transposing, from vision to canvas.



Colour can be bewitching.  It speaks to us and entices our personal stories to relate to it. Everyone has a favourite colour, that is a colour that resonates with them, shaped by their life and memories. Whilst nurturing this relationship we can enhance our own perception of what we need around us to fuel our moods. Yellow is a prime example of the power of colour. Depending on your innate response to this hue, its impact in its most vibrant form can be seismic, with the potential to lift moods and bring joy. Whilst its darkest tone can be miserable and mysterious. But this is not a rule - colour is amorphous. Ones reaction is guided by the viewer's inner world. So colour is personal and therefore the emotional intelligence behind each painting plays with the power of colour.



My dark paintings are moody with chiaroscuro being a favoured technique to evoke the ever changing balance of the elements. The aim is for them to be dynamically atmospheric by transposing an emotion in response to stormy skies or the depth of midnight. So the energy of the palette is not focussed on being menacing or gloomy, even though some interrupt that message, but rather of embracing the celebration of the interplay of light and dark.



In contrast, the more sunny paintings shout out the sheer joy of being alive in such wonderful places. They are statements luxuriating in colour.


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