Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yellow Sky, Strange Land

This is my entry for Inspire Me Thursday's latest prompt, Yellow.

A toughie for me. Colors are very important to me, and I have always been a blue/purple/black/gray/raspberry, even lime green kinda girl, with a recent fondness for orange. Over time I have moved away from all the bruise colors and into the sunnies, but yellow is really the last hold out. I had a studio/playroom painted the color of Morning Sunshine (Benjamin Moore) and that was great, but I still wince at some of the brighter yellows. Although, I have professed my recent love for gold, and that's just a metallic yellow with a touch of earthiness.

Maybe the real value of these prompts is the way they get you to do things you wouldn't normally do, things that are outside of your zone of comfort.

I had to look through the IMT yellow links to find a bunch of color schemes using yellow before I realized yellow wasn't just bright, traffic sign yellow. The creamy shades caught my attention, particularly when paired with a sky like blue. I like the multiple shades of yellow, from cream to ochre. In fact this painting was done with Naples Yellow, mostly, a bit of ochre, a lot of white and a smidge of cadmium yellow medium. And if you click to enlarge, you might even see the small shot of cadmium red medium in the skyline. The blue is cobalt turquoise. All Golden Fluid Acrylics, which I have loved for a long time.

It's interesting, this going out of your comfort zone. You'll notice I stayed with a comfortable old image (Flying Girl) while being pushed into the yellow colors. And that's a good way to try something new and potentially frightening while still feeling as if you know slightly what you are doing. If you change too many things at once and jump too far into a strange land, you can definitely feel like you are over your head and seize up, unable to go farther. Well. I didn't quite intend for the title of the piece to work its way into my creative lesson for the day, but it did. Maybe next week I will be able to enter a whole new strange yellow land because I have built up a scaffold slowly, getting comfortable with the strangeness?

One thing that I thought was interesting about doing this painting was the process it went through. I started out with just some blue (actually it was left over from a previous attempt at using yellow in a hand painting, which I haven't finished yet) and I thought that would make a good background for flying girl. But I wanted to try a new thing with backgrounds and outlines, too, so I drew her in and then thought, oh, let's use some more yellow, and filled in the sky with yellow. So the flying girl is actually the background, interestingly.

I have also been paying attention to outlines, lately, because I want to use them, but I don't want them to be harsh, sharp outlines. After clicking through so many illustrations lately, I thought I'd try to blend my outlines a bit and I did so here. And then I really liked what I was doing and I felt pleased with the painting. But as I continued on and added more paint and tried more things... well lets just say, I got to the point where I was ready to scrap the thing. Ugh. It was horrible.

But that is precisely where you need to get sometimes.

The point of strangeness. The point of being unsettled and uncomfortable. The point of nothing left to lose.

Because then you are free to say yes. You are free to try something you might have been afraid of before. You are free to make a mess and ruin things and experiment and follow the fleeting ideas that you wouldn't, if you were trying to hold onto something you had.

So that's what I did, and instead of hating the painting, I ended up really loving the result. Rocky journey. Lovely ending.

14 comments:

soulbrush said...

so interesting, and i also love the result.

Erica said...

I LOVE flying girl. I looked at clutter from a few weeks ago - also marvelous.

Heather Robinson said...

What a delight to have found you and your artwork. I so enjoyed reading your journal entry about this piece and laughed at the "bruise" colours. What a fantastic way of describing them. Ah, being unsettled and uncomfortable....with nothing left to lose. Thanks for making me think!

Christy said...

You're my favourite early morning read. It's art and philosophy rolled into one.

Yes, outlines are very important. It may be harsh, it may be subtle but it defines the boundaries within our selves and the world.

s.l.greek said...

i really am enjoying this piece. it seems so free. and i agree with you about yellow. it's not my color of choice either. rowena- keep pushing it, you do AMAZING work!

mapelba said...

The best endings have rocky journeys, don't they? Lovely art. Please come live here!

Karen Mowrey said...

I am sure I have done the same at least once or twice put looks like this is how it was meant to turn out. I like your softer yellow, like a warm summer night.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Love flying girl - 'bruise colours' very interesting (you know how bruises fade through yellow before healing?)

Shelly Lowenkopf said...

"The point of strangeness. The point of being unsettled and uncomfortable. The point of nothing left to lose."

Works for any letting-go artistic venture. You nailed it with your art and the truth of these words.

Keep 'em flying.

laurel said...

I love the flying girl. Glad you kept going with it. There is such a sense of freedom with her.

Deb G said...

I had to remind myself that there are shades of yellow too. I'm not a big fan of primary yellow, but love those pale shades. Your image is wonderful!

Juan said...

Very nice work. Wonderful flying girl!

kazumiwannabe said...

This is beautiful, the flying blue girl in the new strange world, exploring and being there. It's very soft, and reassuring. Beautiful illustration and message!

D'Arcy said...

this yellow, this skyline, this blue girl...I feel I know her, have been her, will be her again.

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