One of the finest bits of advice I’ve ever been given was a moment of silence accompanied by a shrug. That came to mind this week while I’ve been pondering how to show you the wonders of mixing your own amazing greens.
My initial idea was to whip up a bunch of recipes for you. A cool green for distant trees, a warm green for foliage in the foreground, greens for shadows and sunlight and everything in between, multiplied by the number of seasons…
I'd mix glob of this, a dab of that, add a molecule or two of another, and wow you with my amazing-ness.
Have you noticed on Facebook, or the internet in general that there are jillions (at least) of artists of one sort or another who promise you 3 Easy Ways to Get Started! Or 10 Steps to Success! Or How To Make Skies / Water / Bright color / Dull Color / Singing Color / Cows / Chickens / People in Only One Afternoon!!!
And what does that have to do with a shrug??
During the halcyon days of taking workshops and classes and scouring magazine articles that had the answers, I had the pleasure of visiting with an artist I admired so very much.
Something Much Admired Artist said stopped me in my tracks. What he was doing, whatever it was, differed from what the workshop/magazine/class gurus assured me would lead to certain success.
Armed with deep knowledge gleaned from the pages of a how-to art magazine, I stated: "So-and-So says to do it this way."
He smiled thoughtfully and shrugged his shoulders. Which surprised me. It took a day or two before I recognized the power of that shrug. In a kind, knowing way, Much Admired Artist was giving me space to learn on my own. To learn there is no recipe, no 3 easy steps. He left it up to me to figure out what my questions were, and more importantly what the answers might be.
I hope Much Admired Artist’s shrug will inspire you to find your own answers. Cook up your own recipe.
Find some quiet time all by yourself, hours of it. With no other plan in mind except to learn about green, open up some tubes of:
Warm blue, cool blue. Warm yellow. Cool yellow. Warm red, cool red. White.
To get you started, Ultramarine blue with Cad yellow and a bit of Indian red makes a fabulous green. On the other hand, cerulean blue, Naples yellow and transparent orange make an entirely different fabulous green.
Mix a glob of one, a dab of another. Add a molecule of something else …
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I've been sharing the odds and ends of my art life for the last 8 years.