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Monday, 7 January 2019

Spotlight: New Year's colours

There is a previous Spotlight called “I needed colour”. Such a wish for colour could be a widespread feeling, in mild midwinter, among grey skies in which all hues are jumbled and somewhat lethargic. Pillow clouds for sleepy colours, hibernating before they burst forth again.
  So if we want more colour now, how do we get it? How do we make more colour around us and our loved ones and a world which may be in need? Through art? And how do we choose which colours to add to the palette, the canvas, the eye and the spirit?
  This Spotlight is about colour palettes – not just a single colour being all-important, but the way we use them, and want them, and how these processes and times might relate to the spread and breadth of brushstrokes, and which tubes we pick up and squeeze out and mix together in in the studio light of bulbs, or candles, or the daylight of sun.
  Happy New Year everyone.  And if you get this post by way of email, then you are on the LAS mailing list, as John mentioned in the Christmas and end-of-year message to us.

  If you have colour thoughts, why not share them in the comments, as well as in your art.
'Winter Scene' - Remegio Onia
How do we make colour choices? Is it about visual aesthetics? Complementarity, as described in colour wheel theory? Emotional associations?
We tend to think of yellow as friendship, red as passion, black as death, white as peaceful innocence, green as nature, and blue as calm. These are classic western views of colour, at a generic level. We also sometimes say that blues and greens are “cold”, and yellows and reds are “warm”, which matches the temperatures of sun and sea and clouds and fire. However most artists say that there are cold reds, and warm blues, and the whole thing is very contextual.
  So how do we arrive at the colours we use and twist into art? And what do colours evoke in us when we experience them?
If we seek significations beyond those we already hold, cultural history could be a robust place to begin: religious and philosophical scripts. We might then wonder whether those notions are borne out by science. In art theory we have the colour wheel that suggests complementarity and aesthetics. In psychology, there is a widely used diagram of colours which is illustrated with familiar logos, and this diagram is a standard part of the teaching and consultancy of emotional marketing and brand effectiveness. 
Or we could show friends and family and strangers some paintings, and ask how they feel about the colours as they swirl in form and mind.
At the beginning of the year we could consider that the 12 colours in the colour wheel might reflect months of the year. If so, what colour are we in now? Green? Blue? Magenta? Yellow-orange?
There are also the four “humours” based on ancient notions of bile, which could be our four seasons:
Instinctively the yellow may be Spring, blood red Summer, phlegmatic Autumn, leaving black for Winter, the bile humour of melancholia. This may not be the most life-affirming or energising of seasonal associations unless we choose which colour we are in – or wish to be in – and what it means.
  Is it an act of superstition or magic to use colours in this way, or is there something genuine behind attaching colours to emotions?
   “As far as colours are concerned, opposites refine eachother. They balance eachother, they soothe eachother, they play off eachother’s intensities. We aren’t really like that in our relationships with other humans. We don’t find people that are opposite us and create that balance, create that harmony.” - Kolby Harrell

Recently I have had visions with a bright yellow colour, slightly like turmeric: slightly orange and ochre. ...Images of this yellow hovering over a sparkling sea, and in towns, glinting on walls and through lamplight, and glowing in the roads and windows and people.
What could it mean?
In flowers, red often refers to passionate love. Yellow flowers are for friendship.
  I am taking the colour visions to mean, for 2019, a call to friendship - with a touch of red and earth.
Yellow with a hint of red and ochre, to recognise that friendship is love too. In changing times we may need more than one kind of love. We need friendship and compassion, and acceptance. And we are still united as one, through the earth and ether.

Colours embrace us. Colour wheels, flower colours, humours and meanings…. My colour of this moment is Yellow-orange.
  I am not using it in any art works, but it informs how I use colours when pouring resins, and when black-sketching the hard lines and soft volumes of a contoured head, and rending thick silver wires into a reflective frame of a buffalo skull. The colours I am using now are almost the oppoite: blues, whites, black, greys and silver – monochromatics which, now that I think of it, fit winter's clouds, that steely sky, chill expanses of air or water with hints of crystals, and the glint in an eye anticipating the rise of smiles.
   The colour in my mind is more about the prospect of Friendship and warmth. Chrome yellow.

If you have colour thoughts, why not share them in the comments, as well as in your art.
Happy New Year everyone.

Top image: ‘Cosmic Artist’ by Alex Grey
Kolby Harrell’s TED talk including colours in relationships, and as socially evolutionary commitment:
LAS Spotlight “I needed colour” about Jim Carey’s artisms:
Chrome yellow, the pigment, or ‘Crome Yellow’, the first novel of Aldous Huxley
Humours, the four colours (and Olympic swimming psychology training):

Saturday, 5 January 2019

2019 Programme

Ludlow Art Society is pleased to present our 2019 programme of talks and demonstrations. This is available on our website here.
As you'll see, we have some spectacular speakers this year so if you've never been to one of our talks before, why not make this the year when you start? Our talks are informal and friendly and everyone is welcome, subject to venue capacity!