It’s week 10 of my 3 month intensive residency in my studio and I have fallen deep into dark, rich, warm shadows made all the more enticing by light cool highlights. With the portraits that I have been painting, I asked my knowledgeable cousin Kiata about colour temperature and did she have any wisdom to impart. She said ‘have a look at some old masters work and start with Rembrant’. So I have been. Painting and in particular, working with colour is a bit of a break-through for me. One of the questions Tracy Sorensen asked me during the interview for the Wild catalogue essay was ‘had I always painted’. I haven’t, I’ve been painting for seven years and I started with oils some five years ago.
So here’s an abridged story. I don’t remember painting as a kid but I was always drawing and I have always had a love of looking and thinking about concepts, light, form, composition and art in general. My first real memory of painting is at high school when I had a big moment that re-enforced my thought at the time that I couldn’t paint and I didn’t understand colour. I thought best to just stick to drawing, colour was just not my thing. I was just 14 and I was in an art class where the project was to create an abstract painting. The first week went well when we were just given a tub of white paint to start on a Masonite board. But when week 2 arrived and colour hit the pallet, I took some feedback from the teacher as not so positive and so I just said to myself that I couldn’t paint and that I had no idea about colour – and that was it … a door almost closed … until 20 plus years later and post kids I thought, well that’s a stupid way to think, and no one ever gets anywhere thinking like that. I dumped that idea and some others too. I now think, I just want to give it a go and I love a learning curve. I think it is very common for children to sign off from learning. I’m trying to encourage an open mindset and learning for life with my kids and me too! And with this thought I’ve started this week planning some workshops that I will be running out at Cowra Regional Art Gallery in the next school holidays. The question is, how can one encourage a love of learning and being open to learning and how can one avoid triggering children to close off. Here’s an image of my youngest when she was just five painting in my previous studio. She’s was very engaged in the process and painted some 6 paintings with gusto that session. Ah the openness and creativity of little ones.
Oh and by the way if I haven’t already got to you, my very first solo art exhibition opens next week. It’s a little of the outcome of opening my mind and giving colour a go. Do come along … http://www.nicmasonartist.com/news.html