Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Exploring colour

Felted test of reds before stitching, sitting on blended greens before felting

I'm very comfortable working with an Antarctic colour scheme. White on cream, a bit of black with my white, shades of blue to show up the white, some more white, lots and lots of white... these are colours I can handle. It's not that I don't like other colours, as a glance at my wardrobe proves, but manipulating colour as an artist seems a lot more challenging than choosing what to wear everyday (and that can be hard enough!).

The rich earthy tones of my latest project are intimidating. I am creating an image from my poem, Miner's Cook so I knew from the beginning I wanted grass green and iron ore red. But what shades, and how to create and combine them with wool roving and embroidery floss?

Three base colours of left, blending in progress on right.

With three earthy and three grassy colours of wool roving I blended them by hand to achieve a variety of shades. The colours of the wool are then modified and textured by the not-quite matching colours of embroidery floss. This is all worked out by trial and error. My visual diary holds samples of each colour I mix with notes on the base colours that make it up.

Colour notes with stitched colour tests

Then I stitch a test piece that combines the wool shades with threads. The test pieces help me help decide which thread colours to use on which felted shades. Its a slow, thoughtful, demanding process saturated with uncertainty and doubts. After a long week of exploring colour I am finally hopeful I can start working on the actual island, which itself presents another set of new challenges on top of the ongoing demands of applying the colours, not least of which is a near deadline (something I usually try to avoid!).

1 comment:

Carol said...

Miner's Cook" is such a raw and earthy poem - but at the same time beautifully written with memorable images - that I can imagine you will make an equally memorable art work to complement it.