This past week, for the first time ever, I used yellow as an underpainting on a new landscape piece. It wasn’t a sunshine or overcooked, corn-on-the-cob yellow, it was more of a buttery, creamy hue with a hint of lemon! I stared at the underpainting for a long time, not sure how to respond after months of pinks, oranges and reds providing the backgrounds to my work. It felt different.
In colour theory, yellow is said to represent joy, happiness, intellect and energy. All good, desirable things right? But, somehow the panel facing me felt pale and kind of weak. It didn’t demand that I respond in the same way the pinks do. It was quiet, more subtle. The yellow waited patiently, our conversation longer and slower as I figured out my next steps.
I’m not unhappy with the outcome of the painting, but it has a very different feel.
I’m drawn to the energy of both colours, but the boldness of the pinks/reds/oranges captures me in a different way. As well as energy, they are associated with determination, power, desire and strength. Also good and desirable things!
Maybe I’ve been drawn to the bold pinks because making art itself feels daring to me. It’s risky, vulnerable and often, totally terrifying! This is what I love so much about it. Every brush stroke pushes me out of my comfort zone, it forces me to explore and experiment, to learn and grow. Sometimes it easily flows and sometimes I have to intently focus on each mark I make.
The process from piece to piece is never the same, but it’s always exciting and thought provoking. Whether the skies are pink, yellow, or even blue!