The dark side of the palette… when bad things happen in an artist’s life

Park Avenue painting, detail, KG Taylor

Had a pretty good day at the day job after a beautiful Easter. Then things went downhill. In my life of faith, I know this is a challenge that will be faced. But now I’m looking for a way to express the dark or moody side of life with art. So I start searching through my images, photos and drawings for something dark and moody, and this is all I could come up with, a corner of one of my paintings that looks a bit dark. But it’s not that dark! There are highlights and illuminated places that seem more hopeful than depressing.

I don’t generally make depressing art. Should we try to make something really bleak if life throws us a nasty curveball? Just to get out those awful feelings?

dark part of my palette

Okay, I found something. It’s a scan of my oil painting palette from awhile back. It’s the dark side of the whole thing. It’s maybe a true representation of torrential upheaval and darkness in one’s life. There’s only tiny bits of light color value in that yellow and light blue.

I could shut myself in the studio and just have at it. Throw paint on a canvas in an abstract flurry. But, you know what, you really need the light values if you want to make a statement. You need that value contrast for real expression.

full painting palette, kg taylor

This is the full palette scanned. I just realized it’s a pretty good representation of a person’s life. Neutrals dominate (ho hum moments?) and darks are definitely there. The bright hues take up just a small space of the whole, and there are a smattering of high value moments.

Shoot, who would know I’d be comparing an old painting palette to life?

The far bottom corner of palette with brights

I can’t help but show the most beautiful section of this mixed palette. I’m choosing the best colors. I choose to see life as I want to see it, with the most joyful hues, the best thing I can mix up and put out there.

I’ve been through rough times in life, and making art helps to get a person through it all. When you have moments and deadlines to keep you busy, it’s a blessing to lose oneself in a few hours of intense work. Don’t give up on making art, it’s a treasured work. Create and then reflect and be thankful.

Advertisements

Tags: , , ,

18 Responses to “The dark side of the palette… when bad things happen in an artist’s life”

  1. barbara Says:

    Karen – I’m having a hard time making art these days – working full time and then caring for my 95 year old mom (with Alzheimer’s). I really feel I need the therapy of painting, but can’t seem to get into my studio. Any suggestions? Time management is really a problem for me.

    Like

    • karen Says:

      I’m in the same boat, Barbara! I try to get a painting started on a weekend (or when I have some time to get it going) so I will have it underway at least. Then it’s easier to come back in and paint for an hour or so after work. It’s also helpful for me to work on smaller paintings that don’t have to be masterpieces. Once I get going with some momentum it’s easier to keep painting when I have to snatch bits of time here and there. Hope that helps!

      Like

      • Barbara Says:

        Karen – I really appreciate your wonderful ideas for getting started in the studio. I actually managed to get in my studio last night and I completed an exercise. I opened one of my favorite watercolor instruction books and decided to actually do one of the exercises – and was pleased with my result too! I have decided to continue with each exercise in the book until that momentum ‘kicks in’. And what’s nice in this particular book is each exercise builds on the next – until toward the end of the book, when I can actually complete a full painting. This system should work for me and maybe this will help someone else too.
        Love your cat painting. I love cats too. I’ve got a 20 lb. orange tabby named Oliver. He’s my LUV!

        Like

      • karen Says:

        Barbara, I’m so happy you were inspired to get to your studio and back to your watercolor work via the book and exercises. Please keep going, you won’t be sorry! Momentum comes quickly with getting in a few sessions, especially if you are enjoying the process. What’s the book you are working with? Sounds like a good one.
        So glad you shared this, and other readers can take encouragement too.
        Oliver sounds like a dear. Our Mimi is a gray and white “tuxedo” cat with attitude. Guess she needs that with 2 dogs in the house!

        Like

      • Barbara Says:

        Karen – John Lovett is my favorite watercolor artist right now, maybe forever. He is Australian. The book I have is:
        Watercolor for the Fun of It –
        Getting Started
        by John Lovett

        I also have his DVD called “Splashing Paint”.

        John teaches abroad and at home. I am hoping someday he will have a workshop in Texas.

        I, too, have a tuxedo cat….Katy. (I rescued her from the Katy Freeway. She was highly pregnant and gave birth to 4 babies just 12 days later). She is black and white and always proper. Very strong attitude.

        Like

      • karen Says:

        John Lovett’s work is truly wonderful, thanks for sharing with us about it, Barbara. Lovely use of value gradations, beautiful colors and nice texture variations. Wow!
        We’ll have to have a cat show and tell some day. 🙂

        Like

      • Barbara Says:

        Karen – Would love to have a cat ‘show and tell’ – let’s paint them !
        I’ve been wanting to paint Oliver in one of his favorite poses. This will be a challenge for me. What do you think? Then we could make a trade or just scan and send. Maybe you could critique me.
        What do you think?

        Like

      • karen Says:

        That sounds fun! We should probably set a deadline of some kind so I will make sure to get one done. Just keeping it simple would be good. I’d be glad to offer any critique help too.

        Like

      • Barbara Says:

        Karen – How does Monday, May 7, sound for a deadline for our cat paintings? What do you think? Too soon, too long?

        Like

      • karen Says:

        Okay, I’ve written it down. I’ll holler if I can’t make the date, only because my daughter’s birthday is the weekend before. I want to do something a little different, this will be fun.

        Like

      • Barbara Says:

        Karen – I am in the middle of selling my mother’s property and taking care of her (95 years old) and my full-time job. I am a bit coo-coo right now. I am hoping this project will be good therapy for me. I totally understand if the date changes, no problem here.

        Like

      • karen Says:

        Okay, let’s shoot for May 7 and play it by ear.

        Like

      • karen Says:

        Barbara, I’ve been working on the cat painting and will post a pic of what I have so far later today. She is in a landscape. I won’t have it finished this week, but it’s a good start.

        Like

      • Barbara Says:

        Karen – I can’t wait to see your cat painting. So far, I have only a drawing of my “Oliver”, but will continue with it and hope to have something finished this week too.

        Like

      • karen Says:

        Hi Barbara,
        I posted a partially finished painting of Mimi on the Hue Bliss blog yesterday. I’ll look forward to seeing your Oliver!

        Like

      • Barbara Says:

        Karen – I saw your MImi. I loved the painting ! What a sweet feeling I received when I saw it !

        Like

      • Barbara Says:

        Hi Karen – I’m not sure how to send my painting of Oliver, my cat.
        It’s not the current one that I am suppose to be working on, but a recent one. (I guess you can call it my ‘promise’ painting.) I have not been able to work on the new one this past week, but will keep trying. My 95 year old mom has me occupied, but I will figure out how to carve the time for Oliver’s ‘new’ painting. I will still send it, but thought I would send this other one for now if I could only figure out how to attach it here. Or do you have another email address I could send it to?

        Like

      • karen Says:

        Hi Barbara,
        my regular email address is kgillistaylor@gmail.com
        I’ll look forward to seeing your Oliver art!

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: