Sunday, August 24, 2008

Color and Intuition

My paintings begin with a single color that is methodically applied with short horizontal and vertical strokes, a kind of cross-hatching. Even though this method is very repetitive and disciplined, there is a surprising amount of variation created within these self-imposed limitations. Certain areas of the canvas will be more concentrated with paint, or subtle light effects begin to make an appearance. The grid that is formed from this underpainting shimmers with tenuous modulations.

Aerial Boundary IV, 2008, oil on canvas, 20x20 inches
© 2008 Diane McGregor

The color palette of a particular painting is chosen by an emotional connection to certain colors when I begin the painting. Color plays an important role throughout, and the unplanned discoveries in the realms of color are what usually inspire me to loosen up and allow the painting to tell me where it wants to go. The whole process of creating a painting is this balance between the intuitive signals and the structure of the grid -- sometimes I feel I am just a silent witness to what the painting reveals itself to be.

I often start a studio session with a simple graphite drawing on paper, whether or not it relates to the painting I have in progress. These are small, intimate drawings, usually 3x3 inches. I follow the same course as with an oil painting: I start with very tentative cross-hatched strokes of the pencil, building up some areas into darker clouds of form, using a gum eraser to pull out luminous forms. Sometimes these drawings are later worked into a painting, but I primarily use this practice as another way to initiate a meditative encounter and to clarify my project. I find my drawing experiences to be more immediate and intuitive than is possible with the rigorous build-up of layers of paint, and it helps connect me with the meditative awareness that can nourish one's intuition. Without having to consciously develop color relationships, the lovely graphite color easily unifies the image with only shades of silvery gray, light and dark. The parameters are extremely limited, and yet such beauty and delicacy emerge from this drawing practice. My heart is usually softened and lightened by these images. This strengthens my mission for my art, which is to connect the viewer with a deeper, more profound inner nature that is nourished by Beauty.

1 comment:

Angel said...

Lovely!--thanks for your explanation of how you work.