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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thoughts About Color, but First My New Granddaughter

It is such an exciting time in my life right now because I have a first grandchild, born May 31st, and her name is Eleanor Mae (sounds like a good novelist's or artist's name). I'm spending time at my daughter and son-in-law's helping to take care of her. I have to tell you right now, grandchildren are the best reason for having children. What a blessing from God she is!

In the midst of all this, believe it or not, I've been thinking about color. Maybe it's being impressed with the wonders of God's creation and color is a big part of that. Having a pretty good grounding in color theory from my formal art training, I feel I have an adequate ability to lay down and organize colors to express what I want or to make a good composition. What is more intuitive, however, and continually changing in my work is color mixing and color choice. Because I am now allowing nature to inspire me, I've come to notice the incredible range of colors that exist on the surface of one smooth stone or one small clump of moss. The wide variety of greens in a clump of moss may be extremely subtle and difficult to notice, but I strive to do just that and this enables me to get a real richness that I'm striving for in my work.

And so, I've been spending a great deal of time recently just mixing colors of polymer. For example, I'll mix an interesting green, then cut it up into 8 or pieces and add a small amount of another color to each piece and mix it in - maybe white to one piece, ecru to another, a teeny bit of red to another, yellow to another and mud to another. So all the pieces work well together because they have the same base green, but yet all are different. The resulting richness of color enables me to achieve a successful organic quality.

This richness is particularly evident in my "Blowing Grass Purse". I first mixed a large Skinner blend made of 5 colors - purple/ecru/green/ecru/peachy orange - then cut it up into 6 equal pieces and added small amounts of other colors to each blend and mixed each in. So I ended up with 6 variations of one Skinner blend and rolled many pieces of grass out of each, then assembled them all into one clump. These variations are called color shifting and can become extremely powerful when used in one piece of artwork.