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Thinking about colour

I’ve been thinking about colour a lot recently. To some extent this has meant looking into colour theory, understanding the science behind how colours manifest and are perceived by humans. But also, my explorations into colour have been quite playful.

I spent many years working mainly in earth colours and eventually felt like I was getting stuck in a rut. The work was quite conceptual and process based, which was interesting but ultimately worked its way into a corner – and a bit of a dull corner at that.

Reigniting a love of colour has inspired lots of other thought processes too.

When I studied for my Masters in Contemporary Art, Criticism and Philosophy 10 years ago, it was almost considered blasphemous – or at least old-fashioned – to explore the formal elements of a work of art. I still think that looking at the surface in isolation is too simplistic; but colour, line and pattern have all become a vitally important part of the work I’m currently creating.

ToBumble bee I - oil painting try to focus on how colour works, to play with mixing colours in new ways, to be bold or subtle and look at new visual relationships on the canvas in front of me, has prompted an explosion of new ideas: the conceptual side of things also popping with renewed energy.

Paintings don’t happen just on the surface. If something is all surface with no thought behind it, then I can’t see how it is anything more than decoration.

What I’m excited to explore at the moment is a world of visual opportunities – inspired by new ways of using colour – that are, in turn, inspiring a cacophony of new concepts, ideas and questions.

A curious and over-thinking mind can be a blessing or a curse but there’s always something interesting that demands investigation. I never reach complete answers but the questions are giving me a lot of enjoyment right now.

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