The works – thinking about colour

After my last post Margaret made these comments “Coming from a place where the grayness of the days often sets the colour schemes I use in my own work, I find the vibrancy of colour in yours quite a contrast. I’d love to hear a little more about how you go about choosing your colour schemes. E.g., are the colours vibrant because of the emotionality you feel about the topic/place.? I love the boldness of the purple/ green combination.”  Thanks Margaret, it’s lovely to hear from you and know that you took time out to really look.

I guess the first thing I’d say re the colours is they’re a reflection of where I live. A lot of New Zealand tourism marketing is based on slogans such as “100% pure” and certainly where I live that’s true. The air is very clean and clear and as a result colours are clear as well. Grass is green, the sly is blue, the cows are black and white or vivid iron oxide red.

I think the colours are also a reflection of my feelings about the Freezing Works themselves, and where I live generally. Patea is a poor, rural, low socio-economic town that knows hard times personally. In some ways it is not always an easy community to live in. The derelict works are ugly, just as the closure was ugly. But I love both of them; the town and the ruins. Being raised here was good for me, coming back here almost 20 years ago now was also good for me. Living here gives me the chance to work full time, be an artist, publish a newspaper, care for Mum and still be happy – try that in the city!

I am using what is, for me anyway, a limited colours selection – mainly to help tie the individual works together a bit more. Sitting on my desk I have Naples yellow, permanent green light, brilliant orange, transparent yellow, titanium white, phthalo blue (green), manganese blue, quinacridone magenta, permanent violet dark, quinacridone violet, ultramarine violet, and phthalo green (yellow). I chose this colour set, ok two sets really, after doing some of the colour exercises from Nita Leland’s Confident Colour book.

It’s been interesting to try to explain a bit about the colours; I may end up coming back to this later on. In the meantime …the photos (taken at night wiht  aflash, so dodgy colour) this time show some of the detail from a painting I am working on at the moment. Hopefully you can see that there is a reasonable amount of texture going on. I like my marks to show, to leave traces of what I  have done and how I got there.

4 thoughts on “The works – thinking about colour

  1. Cath,
    Thanks for the explanation. Noe I wish I had spent more time on writing my post! I’m glad I was on the mark about your colour selections.I’ve read Nita Leland’s Confident Colour too and have tried some of the palettes.

    Newfoundland is usually described as a “pure” place to live too but I do not get the colour intensity in the environment I’ve found in other places I’ve travelled in Europe. This may be a personal perception on my part. Glad I found your blog.


  2. Cath,
    These paintings are great! I love the colors you chose and I enjoyed Margaret’s question and your detailed answer. I can see the emotional ‘energy’ coming through. You are on-a roll!!


  3. Thanks for your comment on my blog post. I hadn’t been to your blog for a while & I’ve been missing out on some great stuff here. I love this series you are working on. I have found Nita Leland’s color schemes are a sure fire way to wake up my color palette. I can easily get stuck in a rut.
    Your interpretations are really great here.


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