I taught a workshop all day today. It was advertised as Color and Abstraction. It's been a beautiful clear sunny day, perfect for gardening. Nevertheless, it was a good experience. I began by having everyone draw a circle and put in colors that, to them, were harmonious. There is no right or wrong, good or bad here. What was obvious was that no two people (of the twenty there) did the same color combinations. Every one was different. Color is so personal. And so relative. It depends so much on what is around it, how much (amount), where (placement). I then gave them several exercises placing color in squares, trying to have all the colors of equal intensity. Again, everyone had different choices.
In the afternoon I had them work with words (describing various emotional states) rather than images, describing them with color. Several people commented on what fun it was and also, isn’t this therapy. I told them you have to start somewhere. And the point of using emotions takes it away from known objects. From there, to make a strong painting, it has to go beyond the personal. Transcend that. Be able to speak on many levels.
They did some very interesting work, some of it quite impressive. They were a good group. One woman said if she won the lottery she would go to The Art College. I said if I won the lottery I would get a new air purifier for my studio. Another woman told me she had gone to NSCAD many years ago but had to leave because of the toxic environment. She has MS and it was very bad for her health. That was twenty/thirty years ago. For the first ten years of her illness she was in and out of a wheelchair many times. Now she has been in remission for ten years with no episodes. She said she keeps herself healthy with good living and a positive attitude. Depression is the enemy of the immune system. How very true. If only I could have convinced Robert of that. But then, just as with color, everyone has their own path.