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Mud and a bit of Sun


The sun peeped out for a few tantalizing moments today—rather symbolic of my understanding of what we’re supposed to be doing with color studies. Everyone else seems to have all of this figured out while I am still struggling to identify muted colors and achromatic grays. I feel a bit more confident about gouache and now that we’ve reached the half way mark, I know I will have enough paint to last the week.


Class Work using Chromatic Grays and Muted Colors

Class Work using Chromatic Grays and Muted Colors

Today’s assignment was repeating some of Alber’s classical exercises changing hue, value, and both by juxtaposition on another color. We all tussled with those exercises, moaned about not having the ‘right colors’; put them out, talked about them, and  then I went back and did another set—correctly. The instructor did a set—there are some starting places with parameters but at the end it is still visual and experimental. Of course, we’re also condensing a semester’s worth of material into just one week.




Tomorrow’s project is to reproduce the colors contained in a selected artwork  by quantity and then to do a small project using the same colors and in the same proportion. Here I am at a clear disadvantage—opaque paint is so different from watercolor—and I hear Jerry Newman’s voice in my head—don’t make mud! But I attempt to match the colors but this time I paint huge swatches of color.


My eyes grew weary of looking at so much color and my brain was spinning. And now when I ‘look’ at the world, I’m searching for those muted colors and grays and prismatics and thinking about how the combinations work. Outside the sky is a smokey blue with tracings of dark grayish brown trees; near my hotel are several trees with a lovely mottled gray bark. Tulips are in full bloom—deeply saturated colors against the gray-green of their leaves—but I admit to being distracted by the fountain cleaning project underway this morning.


Muted Colors in Narrow Value Range

Muted Colors in Narrow Value Range

Each of us secretly thought that this would be an ‘easier’ class than one with Nancy and some of us brought things to do at night in our ‘free time’. This is the same as a class with Nancy in intensity—-actually I think it might be more so as working with small paper and glue is less time consuming than sewing all those pieces together –so we get through more exercises.




Tomorrow is another day; we’re promised sunshine and warmer weather.



More photos are on smugmug at


I’ve included some photos of downtown Lancaster and the Crow barn surroundings.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. I think you have some great new color combinations there.

    doncha love those wine bottle trees?

    April 23, 2009

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