I have a confession to make: choosing colors freaks me out. Whether it’s deciding what to wear for the day, or which hues to use in an art project, I prefer to rely on either my tried-and-true neutrals (and sure-fire combinations like brown and blue–one of my favorites), or I rely on inspiration from books, paintings, even tapestries, that I’m attracted to. Understanding color would help me go a long way, and Dory Kanter has advice on this for all of us.
In her inspirational book, Art Escapes: Daily Exercises and Inspirations for Discovering Greater Creativity and Artistic Confidence, she shares how to capture a mood with color triads. “Painting on-location is an art form of the moment–best done quickly before the light changes or you get uncomfortable,” says Dory. “I always paint with triads when out-of-doors. Triads are a creative shortcut to vibrant color blends. With just three well-chosen pigments, I am confident of eye-catching and harmonious color mixes. The best part about painting with triads is that each of them conveys a different mood. Becoming familiar with the characteristics of each triad gives you a powerful catalyst for color expression. Each trio of pigments is a connoisseur’s recipe for creating atmospheric colors and an eloquent way to convey your original inspiration.”
In addition to providing exercises and examples for color combinations, Art Escapes includes 13 drawing, watercolor, mixed media, and assemblage projects, plus several “page-a-day” ideas to keep you inspired to get out your art journal each day. “The more I draw and paint,” says Dory, “the more I value what I call private art–daily creative exercises in my journal. They are an account of ideas, questions, dreams, explorations and experiments of the hand and the heart. They are a witness to an awakening to the full spectrum of ordinary life. They mirror the gentle stirrings of the eye, mind and soul. And they are done with no thought of public viewing.”
Great Expectations (a “page-a-day” idea from Art Escapes): Fuse expectation with experience in a two-part journal exercise. Before going to an artistic event, open to a new page in your journal, and draw in pencil for just five minutes. Briefly record something about the upcoming event. There are no rules. Just draw whatever comes to your mind about the movie, concert, art exhibition, dance performance, lecture or museum you are going to see. After it is over, embellish and modify your preconception drawing. Erase, or go on top of your original pencil drawing, adding new or revised images. Use felt-tip pens to highlight the final drawing. Then choose a triad to add color. This exercise reveals the evolution of perception. Experience a heightened focus of attention during an event as you anticipate further reflection in your journal afterward. It helps me hold on to the beauty of a dance, the lilt of a song and the creativity of the artist. ~Dory Kanter
Sounds invigorating! Time for me to get out my sketchbook and start drawing, and work up some color confidence with the help of a color triad. Find your inspiration through Art Escapes–you can order the paperback, or if you simply can’t wait, download the eBook here from North Light Shop. Either road you choose–have fun!