This was a long project for me and I slightly got lost in it. At the beginning I found it straightforward, albeit challenging. By the end I know I got too involved in the stitch aspects of colour and I then found I was lost and struggled to get back into the course. I wonder if anyone else found that? I feel I want to keep exploring this area. I think maybe I have realised how much this course is just a taster of so many skills and aspects that are implicit in developing fabric/textiles arts, and I am just tinkering with the margins. I guess I recognise that as necessary but also a bit frustrating.
To the questions:
1. Were you able to mix and match colours accurately?
Sometimes! The type of paint used could sometimes be more mixable and matching than others, but it depended on the light, the object being matched and sometimes on the quality of my paint materials. I tried to use acrylics from tubes, so that I would keep thickness and therefore not have my mixing diluted by water. But actually it was easier to come up with a match if I used watery paints, eg watercolours or acrylics thinned with water. Mixing for the colour wheel was challenging, and I had several goes at this, especially as I didn’t have my colour wheel here with me and the shop had them on order, so I used the internet and books as the basic colour foundation.
2. Were you able to used colour expressively?
Although there was an exercise on using colour to express emotions etc, I think the paints work was more matching than expressing. When I moved to the stitch areas I found this more expressive and the lines, whorls, knots all gave different sensations, emotions, experiences. Thus even the exercises were exhilarating and emotive. There was to me more strength and sense of intention rather than formal ‘work’. Interesting!
3 Can you now see colour rather than accepting what you think you see?
I am much more aware and questioning about the colour world around me. It was highlighted by the way the primary colours stitch mixing the red and yellow changed in impact between Newcastle UK and Bahrain. Of course I knew this in theory, but it was so strong to actually see it and find I had recorded things differently. I look at artists’ works differently now too. I look at how the colours are built up, rather than just put on, and I notice the juxtaposition of colours more rigorously. I find I question why they have used a particular colour in such a way. I am not really seeing colour properly, but I am on the learning continuum! I have realised how little I am aware, really.
4. Did you prefer working with watercolours or gouache paints? What was the difference?
I used more acrylics and watercolours rather than gouache. I find the mixing easiest with watercolours, but the tone is more muted and I find it hard to find brilliance. Gouache has an extra sense of vibrancy, which I love. Acrylics for me were strong, troublesome but I had a sense of achievement in matching colours and a sense of permanency. I tried inks and didn’t achieve very well, probably my skills. In general, I am finding I love to mix and draw with my watercolour pencils, but at the same time I have noticed that I am not really sketching vibrant colours, eg my choice of clothing for research, my picking of the ornamental cabbage with its dusky tones.
5. How successful were the colour exercises in Stage 5> How did they compare to the painting exercises?
I love doing these and lost my time discipline completely in all of the stitch work. Each exercise was a development of understanding of colour, and of the different nature of the yarns available, I felt it is more complex than a painter (how arrogant of me), as textures and reflective/absorbant, manmade/natural, all needed to be taken into account when trying to give a colour effect. I spent too much time I know on the pointillism exercise copying a Seurat image into yarns but it was a very strong impulse to look at the impact of mixing with yarns. Additional learning point here….It is very challenging to collect a wide enough range of colours in yarn types. Sometimes I could find colours in ribbons and tapes, sometimes in wools and threads. I think then a further study will be how to mix colours when using different types of stitches and background fabrics. Phew.
6. Is there anything you would like to change or develop?
I have a sense of loss coming to the end of this project as I know I have just skimmed the surface of a big, big concept. I have a real reluctance to let it go, but I need to if I ever want to complete the course in a formal way. As in point 5, I think mixing colours with different stitches and wider range of yarns would be the next step. If I could change anything I guess it would be my time management, which is completely lost!