Sunday, 22 March 2015

Assignment 4 - starting the Textile Structures section - colour analysis

This assignment seems to me to be about the construction of textiles. It covers braid and rope making, plaiting and weaving. I had hoped there was something in there about knotting and  other free-form 3D work, but I may, if I have time, play around with that as well during this assignment anyway. There is a written research point about textile art, what it is and what it means in the context I assume of Western art.

Reading through the workbook there is something in there about the grid, working freely within the grid, but probably not overtly anything about working outside the grid, 'off the wall' as some writers describe it. The weaving is based on tapestry weaving, which is great, I enjoy working in that medium, and it does allow for all manner of experimentation with fibre, structure, qualities of threads, yarn and string, and colour.

I have chosen a workbook with black pages for this assignment. Black is very useful for framing work and it changes the way colour works when either painted directly onto it or mounted on to enable the black background to frame it - white makes things luminous while black makes things poised and sombre.

The workbook starts off with some colour exercises, to create examinations of works and analysing them in terms of proportion. I chose a couple of paintings by Gerhardt Richter, Cage (1) (2006) and Wald (3) (1990) both were shown at the Tate Modern exhibition in 2012.  I will link to the paintings found on the Gerhardt Richter web-site, and you can find the images there quite well defined. So, these paintings are in fact not so easy to analyse, and colour choices derived from them needed to be simplified. I had several goes trying to identify and mix paints, gouache, watercolour and water soluble crayons, to work out what would be useful to find the colours for the next steps. In the paintings Richter has applied the colours quite thickly and then pulled them across the canvas which has led to the colours mixing and giving both paintings a horizontal effect in the smearing of the colours. Sometimes it is possible to discern a distorted representation underneath this pulled paint, but I have tried and failed to see it in these two cases. Anyway, I like Gerhardt Richter's work, I find it well-thought-out, carefully considered and he uses beautiful colours in interesting ways.

Here are some examples of what I did to analyse Cage (1). The main colours in this painting are greens, some blue-green with darker shades and browns.

The first picture shows testing the colour medium and water colour paper I went on to use (it is quite grainy and was good for applying water-based media, but less good when trying to add more wet on wet, it started to disintegrate after a while):

This second picture shows a section of a collage I made. The painted page is more of a lay-out exercise working out where the colours sit in the painting. I also made a couple of yarn wraps to think about the colour distribution and how these would work out in textiles.

Wald (3) / Forest (3) (1990) contains a lot of blue, but there are many other colours in there - green (as a mix with the blue, so more of a blue-green), yellows, oranges, browns, a strange coral red (that I do not really have much of in yarn) and pinks, white as well as, what looks like greys.
Again I had a go at mixing colours and working out how it would work using gouache in various levels of viscosity, and then another collage to work on colour proportion and effects of how colours work together. I had to paint a bit of diluted black over it to make it darker in sections.

More testing paint and a section of testing paint on the black paper directly. The colours are dulled and the orange looks more mustard:

And here an analysis of how the colours lie on the painting as an attempt at working out proportions - luckily I found a bag of wools that contained that coral I didn't have:

Between the analyses of the Richter paintings I also gathered a collage of browns and earthy tones. I did a wool wrap of that as well:

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