Thursday, May 31, 2012

Challenge Yourself

Not being one to avoid a challenge…….(says one who went back to school in her late 40s to finally get her art degrees) I have just joined the Limited Palette Challenge on Facebook. This challenge has been setup to see what a body can do using only Ken Auster’s limited palette as a color basis for a painting. This is going to be hard…….after all I travel with every pigment known to man, woman too. The challenge is to produce 5 pieces with only white, black, alizarin crimson, cad yellow medium and ultramarine blue. Can I sneak in Indian Yellow and still be legal? You can see I am having problems with this already. The time limited challenge was over before I actually could join it, so all the pressure is my own. But the learning will be posted here so anyone wanting to can follow along. Failures and all.

I think I am going to do small canvasses, after all this is a learning thing. I will do nothing bigger than 11x14 and some as small as 8x6. I think the hard thing will be to tame the alizarin… is the sort of color that gets into your hair, nose, mouth, you name it. I have even found it on my skivvies, - don’t ask. It’s the devil to get out of beige pants after having sat upon it. It is hard to control and oh so strident straight out of the tube. It sings solos even when surrounded by others. Controlling alizarin is like trying to hide the one red-headed kid in the family. It just sorta sticks out. So for me, that will be the hardest part of the challenge. Or maybe it will be the lack of cad red light. I do so have issues with reds. They are hard to keep in their proper places. The Southwest seems to dictate using Indian Red, English Red or Cadmium Reds.

 Alizarin is a color I associate with the Eastern landscapes. I did use it in my Rainy Day at Red Rocks painting that I did in Nevada at the convention. But nothing that day was typically Southwest. The weather least of all.  If challenges make you grow, I am going to be much taller after this, - right.

Wind Canyon Etude #3
During the Whitewater/Baldy Fire

Add to the stated limitations the biggest wild fire that New Mexico has ever experienced and the normal cerulean skies are pretty gray today. The sun peeks through a haze that is ash. The fire is about 50-60 miles from us, but the skies, tastes and smells are here in plenty.
Wind Canyon has the least amount of alizarin I have ever seen in a landscape, but we do have purple thistle and tiny purple flowers right now. That’s it, cause it ain’t in the cactus……oh heck yeah it is, in those tiny purple blossoms at the tips of the cholla. See what happens when you really pay attention? You start seeing things that you never noticed before. And the nice thing is that I can dovetail this with the Wind Canyon series I am doing. Two birds with one stone…….sweet.

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