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  • Writer's pictureSue Pickering

News, Muse & Inspiration 18: A very colourful start to 2024

Updated: Feb 19

I decided that I would do my Art of the Day project again this year. I find it really helpful to start the year with some experimentation and discovery. These explorations feed into the work that I make later in the year and help to develop my art process. January was designated as a month to play with colour. After a break from art over the Christmas period, I was itching to get my paints out and play. I spent some time on New Year's eve preparing papers by taping around the edges and applying a coat of white gesso to each one.

Choice is great, but sometimes too much choice can leave us unable to create. During January I created a set of parameters for my art explorations:

  • each piece was made on A3 size watercolour paper (42 x 29.7 cm)

  • I restricted myself to only 3 colours of paint (plus black and white)

  • the 3 paint colours were chosen at random

  • each piece was completed within 24 hours

I have a BOX OF COLOUR. It contains swatches from every pot and tube of acrylic paint that I own. Each day I chose (or asked one of my family to choose) 3 swatches - without looking at the colours. Click here to see the BOX OF COLOUR in action.

Above you can see the 7 pieces that were made during the first week. Each piece was made using paint, collage and mark-making. I posted each piece on Instagram and this was really helpful because I got to look at the piece differently on my screen. I became aware of strengths and weaknesses in the composition of each piece. When pieces became busy, I resolved to try something simpler the next day.

As January moved on and the world went back to work, I found that I had less time available to work on the pieces. So I changed my process and started to work with my Catalyst Blade a lot more. This is a silicone painting tool for applying and manipulating paint - and I made some great discoveries while using it. You can see a video of me working on one of the pieces here.

It was great to work without any pressure to produce something that was 'good'. I gave myself total freedom to try out new things.

For now, I have put these pieces aside and moved on to my February Art of the Day project. However, I see these pieces in my Instagram profile every day and I'm constantly noticing things that I like and don't like. Some of these pieces may have more added to them. Some may be cut up into smaller pieces. Others may make their way to exhibitions later in the year. Visit my Instagram account to see a video of all 31 pieces.

Working with colour in this way really allowed me to to explore colour and composition in depth. During February I am turning off 'colour' and focussing on line and shape in a series of monochrome photographs. More on that soon!

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