A few weeks ago I made some well needed time for myself and took a class on color and composition. This was taught by Jane Davies and while the class was WAY too short (aren’t art classes ALWAYS too short?) I did end up learning SO much.
In college I took a color theory class and spent a lot of time learning about the color wheel, shades, tints, complementary colors, and all the ways colors can be used to set the tone for a painting. In this recent course, we did the same. However, this time, I was at whole new place with my creativity because I have worked very hard to claim my creativity through the process of creating, and embracing myself as an artist. WAAAY back then, I was unsure and afraid and oh-so-intimidated by the “real” artists in my class. I remember distinctly having to display our pieces in the front of the class for everyone to see. Next to others work, mine was so elementary and simplistic I felt ashamed. I didn’t know myself as an artist and I certainly didn’t value the process of making art. I judged myself against my peers in a way that confirmed to myself that going to art school was a dream and that I would remain a closeted wanna-be.
After many years of living the closeted-creative life, it took a lot of courage to start creating again. Over the past few years I have embraced my fears of being perfect, not “good enough” as a artist, aligned myself with my creative values and really just leaned into creating for the sake of expressing who I am.
With this in mind, now as I take art classes, I approach classes as an opportunity to learn more about myself , embrace mistakes and failure as part of clarifying my artwork, and further deepening my relationship with my creativity.
So my approach to this recent class was to show up with confidence and courage. I AM confident I am an artist now even though my work still may be deemed as simplistic by some. I AM confident I am growing as an artist and finding my authentic path through acrylics. I know now that I haven’t found “IT”–that being the art/medium that expresses my creative purpose BUT…I KNOW that I am closer than I was 15 years or so ago. And now I can attend classes knowing that I have the courage to splatter paint, make mistakes and even “hate” a piece but still walk away from the class having gained much more insight to my creative process.
In terms of this color and composition class, I was able to create a color wheel that I could use to guide my relationship with color in my abstract works. In the past, I might have spent the entire time trying to perfect the mixing of the colors to get just the right hue… this time I knew it wasn’t the color wheel that I needed to focus on the knowledge of how color works and the colors that I think represent who I am.
So while I re-learning the “basics” of the color wheel, I developed a deeper awareness of my relationship with my creativity and the colors that represent part of my personal palette. Yea! That feels great to say!
I also realized during this class that I want to know more about composition. I recognize part of my fears about painting revolve around “not-knowing” how to create a balanced, pleasing to the eye abstract picture. The class helped to bring an awareness of using both a grid and cruciform composition. Unfortunately we didn’t have a whole lot of time to move deeper into this but I was able to practice both types of composition.
Although the class was *only* a day, I walked away with a deeper understanding of how I want to use color and composition in my paintings to express who I am. I want to continue to boldly paint and confidently embrace color from both traditional theory and then push it to be more courageous. I want to further my understanding about traditional composition and then learn how to modify it and push boundaries.
Exploring color and composition allowed me to create these pieces. I don’t consider them all “finished” but I played with both colors (a lot of monochromatic ones) and composition. I know creativity is a process and journey and these pieces not only represent some of what I’ve learned about “art” but also represent my creative journey in becoming who I am as an artist. Eventually I will “get there” but right now I’m appreciating the journey.