Colour Theory in Practice

I have been basing a lot of my new work and ideas on colour theory compositions that appear as diagrams in text books. Often very formal, these diagrams are heavily based on simple shapes and configurations such as Goethe’s colour triangle or the circular spectrum.

I have been using materials already to hand in my studio, such as florescent markers, sharpie pens and my bulbs to mimic such arrangements and test ideas for future work.

I am enjoying taking my practice ‘back to basics’ in terms of amounts of materials and colours used. I think that possibly I have over-complicated things in past works; using too many elements that confuse and conflict against each other – as in my Chamber series. As beautiful as I think they were and happy to have produced them, I think there were too many concepts within them.

1. the formal arrangements of objects.

2. the saturation of objects.

3. the use of found, ‘recyclable’ materials.

4. the structure the mirrors used to encase the objects in…..

… I could go on.

I am much happier with my most recent work (shown in exhibitions On Brown & Violet Grounds and Synthesis). I feel like my making process is more organic than it used to be. I have the chance to play and trial arrangements through drawing and psychically before taking installations into spaces rather than just taking the work directly into spaces. This middle-ground allows the work to be more rigorous in its approach and gives me time to adapt in my own time scale with no rush for a finished exhibition.

I am looking forward to working in new lighting mediums in the new year, potentially in neon and possibly using LEDs within my work for the first time. Watch this space…


Proposals, Submissions & Commissions….

I have spent the last fortnight sat looking at photographs of buildings, making site visits and whizzing off emails for quotes. Its sad to say that the life of an artist isn’t just about pottering in the studio (a fantasy view). At the very least I have a pleasant dining room/office where I can flick on the kettle and grab a cookie any time I like, listen to my favourite music as well as being able to lay out all my preparatory material, sketches, printed out inspiration grabbed from the internet and my books; this allows me to see everything in one go and therefore make informed descisions about the make I might propose.

It seems at the moment I am not having much luck with opportunity submissions I send off (having been rejected from the last five or six – that rant is for another post), but better luck with being invited to propose new work and being offered exhibitions on the strength of recent work documented through my website and blog; I just don’t get it!

Anyhow, about a fortnight ago I was longlisted and invited to draw up a proposal for a new light work to be shown outdoors. This worried me at first for a few reasons;
1. I have never made work for the outdoors,
2. I have never made work in the medium required (neon),
3. Finally, I have never responded directly to a buildings historical, geographical and structural form all in one go before.
So, when in doubt turn to colour theorist and artist Josef Albers…

Out came the colour-obsessed-artists’ obligatory copy of ‘Interaction of Colour’; a book I take all my titles from as well as using it as a research tool which I dip in and out of when needed. This was a time when I really NEEDED it!

As I flicked through the diagrams at the back of the book I came across Goethe’s colour triangle; a theory for mixing primary, secondary and tertiary colours that I am well familiar with. Bingo! Its so nice to have that ‘light bulb’ moment. So, instead of trying to squeeze my ideas into a ‘design’ that didn’t represent my practice, I remembered now crucial it is to stay true to yourself and the concepts that drive your practice. If the commissioners don’t go with my idea it is not because its not a good idea, its because it not what they were looking for on that particular occassion.

As I write this post the commission deadline has passed, my proposal is typed up and sent. All I can do now is cross my fingers…