Discovering what you think you like and dislike

As anyone may know looking at recent articles here, I am learning to make the most of my  Nintendo DSi XL as a tool for experimental art, using the Art Academy software. One of the areas I’m re-studying is ‘colour theory’.

It would appear I like these colours!

I learned colour theory some years ago as an art student in the UK, but I figured there was no harm in refreshing the knowledge. My interest to take up colour experimentation is based on the teachings of a very wizened professor emerita in art, Betty Edwards ; she’s probably more renowned for her very intriguing book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

If you have ever found yourself saying, “oh, I’d really like to take up doing something creative, but I’m too busy…”, then this book could be a good investment!  The objective for anyone wanting to be creative is to master your own brain’s attitude to being creative, and this book helps you to discover and nurture the brain, to achieve a harmonious relationship between the two brain hemispheres.

After 6 months, I’ve managed to get close to this – no small feat considering that I have a very left-brained ‘day job’ working in technology where logic is King, left-brain thinking is King!

Following on with Betty’s clever approach to drawing, I embarked on her book for colour theory, called Color: A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Colors. One of the first self exploratory experiments is to discover how we feel about colour.

Using  a small palette of colours (black, white, green; blue; violet; crimson; red; orange; and, yellow), and without thinking about it too much, I selected colours I liked and painted freely. It’s recommended that recognisable shapes, symbols, objects, etc. are avoided.

Apparently these are colours I dislike!

Then,  with a fresh surface and clear palette, I repeated the above, but this time I concentrated on colours I wasn’t keen on.

These two small paintings here took just a few minutes each on the Nintendo DSi XL. It’s important to note that this is simply about self-discovery! Looking at these two ‘expressions’, I’m still puzzled as to why I chose what I did and why I painted the colours in such a manner.

In fact, sometimes I find I like the colours that I apparently ‘dislike’!

Originally published: Thursday, August 11th, 2011 at 22:42 in Atelier, Inspiration


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2 Responses to “Colour theory experimentation”

  1. Hypersext says:

    It’s funny, I feel exactly the same about the colours in each of your pictures.

    The top one is very “friendly”. It reminds me of the dappled surface of water or a flower stall.

    However, the bottom one feels “uptight”. In fact, I can hardly stand to look at it! 😉

    It’s probably the difference in strokes too, not just the colours. Your “like” colours are painted in harmonious droplets whereas the “dislike” ones cannot even bear to touch each other and so form this concentric straight lines which never cross, a bit like the game grid in Tron.

    Did you intentionally paint things that way or did the colours lead you to it?

    • Thank you for your comment 🙂 It’s interesting to see how someone else perceives these two abstract pieces. Indeed, part of the experiment is specifically not to paint anything recognisable like a shape, object, landscape, etc. It’s just about letting your mood and instinct move your stylus across the surface and the key is to work very quickly so your right side of the brain does all the work. When you stop to think, that’s when the left side of the brain jumps in and starts criticising and taking over the art direction! Perhaps you can do the experiment too and let me know the results??!


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