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I am UmberDove.

And by that, I mean an artist.  One who hears stories in the wind, who paints because it is what her soul tells her to do, who smiths because the muse moves through her fingertips, who loves nothing more than the promise of an unexplored trail, the sound of the ocean in her ears, and scent of a serious cup of coffee.

Week 4 - Visual Vocabulary Part 2


Kelly Clark

“Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found.” - James Russell Lowell

It's time to get juicy!  And by juicy, I mean, let's talk about color! 


Now there are as many ways to use color as there are names of colors, so what we're doing here is just expanding and experimenting with ways we can incorporate color into our visual vocabulary.

If I were to ask you to tell me your favorite color, or even top five, most of us would be able to come up with a list pretty quick.  Keep those colors in mind (or even better, create it in your sketchbook with paint, marker, pencil), but let's really begin by taking a look at our surroundings.  When you glance around your home, what colors continually pop up, or stand out above others?  What colors reoccur in wall color, pillows and blankets, you favorite mugs, your wardrobe?  Sometimes our "favorite" might not actually be the one we surround ourselves with, and sometimes the colors we surround ourselves with are not really our favorites (but they may be the colors we "need").  Take a moment and check in with your intuition: what colors make you feel, what colors are you drawn to, which ones allow you to take a deep breath or stir a little energy in your soul?  Note down those colors as well - they may be the ones speaking loudest to you right now.  As ever, we're not judging, we're simply observing and noting the chroma in our lives.  


I like to use color in two very broad ways: Intuitively and Informatively

When you open your pencil box or watercolor pans, when you survey your fabric stash or cabochon collection, what colors grab your eye and make your fingers itch?  When you quiet down and search inside for what feels right, and then put a big swath of green on paper, that's intuition speaking.  As we've said before, we may not know if it has, or even needs meaning, we just know it feels good.  So go with it!  

But sometimes we're trying to convey something a little more specific, and this is where developing your informative sense of colors comes into play.  While I love to let my intuition dictate color choices, I also love the idea of using color to layer in meaning, feeling, symbolism.  Just about every color out there has a rich history, be it social, cultural, environmental or highly individual.  The whole color family of Blue can stand in for a great many things: any form of water, the sky above, the idea of flow, the Holy family, the 5th chakra and our voice/self expression, blue birds and summer berries.  Sometimes we can even allow a color to stand in for a concept or object and release the specific image entirely - the way that a creamy, vibrant orange might say "papaya" without even needing a picture of the fruit, or an intense red background immediately can read "passion" or "struggle" without any additional cues from imagery.  Layering multiple monochromatic shades of green can read as "nature" or "landscape" without a single leaf or tree.  When we make chromatic choices in our art, even the small act of recognizing how we use color can create deeper, richer work.  And sometimes, just allowing our associations with color to play in our mind opens the doors to inspiration.   


To start off our week, I'd like you to take another slow walk around your home, your neighborhood, your city streets and wild places.  Similar to the way we gathered bits and bobbles to observe and draw, I'd like you to gather up some color and arrange it in your studio space.  They might be house hold objects, pictures, stones and beads, scarves or string, autumn foliage or found feathers, even some tubes of paint but gather a few colorful items that call your name.  This very act of gathering is a great way to allow your intuition to guide, and the items you choose may or may not have immediate color associations for you.  Either way, take note of the colors that end up in hand or on desk, and we'll begin playing with them later this week! 

Like rainbows and lolly pops,

- K