Doodling Details

Sometimes I find my painting experiments take me to unexpected places. And the results aren’t always what I’d like them to be.

“Art is in all the details.

Christian Marclay

Little Steps

As I type this, for context, we’re on lockdown day 1 in the UK.
Early days in the unfolding story of 2020.

It seems more poignant than I could have predicted to be talking today about the little steps along the path to an uncertain destination.

The context I had in mind was about creating mixed media art in a single color. And saying it now feels trite and superficial.

But, this is here to take or leave as you choose. It might serve as a distraction, or a metaphor, or just some visual music to soothe a few minutes in your day.

The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in the details of daily life.”

~ William Morris.

In life, in art, the details are what I’m focussing on right now.

Especially when using a single color, it’s the little details that bring a piece to life, adding character, dimension.

Details in a neutral color (black, grey tones, white) break up the intensity of a solid field of one hue. That’s exactly what I did here.

Above all, doodling is a low-mental-bandwidth activity that seems to dissipate angsty monkey mind chatter.

You don’t need a plan, just follow the lines and shapes. Use little marks, dots, scribbles, whatever shapes take your fancy. For once, don’t look at the bigger picture, just take a little area and dance the pen about. Doodle until you’ve had enough and then set it aside. That’s all there is to it!


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow & Yellow-Green)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

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You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.

Types of Stripes

Sometimes a series of simple actions – paint smeared and dolloped onto paper, folds, slices, arrangements – can add up to something new with a curious charm you’d never have anticipated.

Painting, I think it’s like jazz.

Brian Eno

One part of this year long color a month adventure I really enjoy is discovering new ways to play with the same patterns.

Really simple patterns – we’re talking fundamental building blocks here – the squiggles, the dashes and dots. And one of my faves:

Stripes & Lines

How many ways can you make a line on paper?

  • Aside from drawing or painting
  • Lines can be straight and wavy, and a bit of both.
  • Consider tearing or cutting.
  • Experiment with folding and pleating
  • Layer pieces together and see the shadow of a partially stuck down shape form another line.

Simple is not always easy, as I explained yester-post. But sometimes it actually is.

Sometimes a series of simple actionspaint smeared and dolloped onto paper, folds, slices, arrangements – can add up to something new with a curious charm you’d never have anticipated.

welcome back to my messy desk 😉

“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow & Yellow-Green)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.

The Spiral Path

Sometimes I find my painting experiments take me to unexpected places. And the results aren’t always what I’d like them to be.

“The path isn’t a straight line; it’s a spiral.

You continually come back to things you thought you understood and see deeper truths.

Barry H Gillespie

Funny how, no matter how many times we circle past the same landmarks on this spiralling journey, the same things can appear new again and again.

This is the fourth time I’ve taken on the year long color a month adventure, and with each iteration, each color is establishing a familiar pattern. And still, each time, this surprises me.

Green

Moving around the color wheel from Yellow-Green to Green, stepping from green-ish to full on green, once again has felt brought with it a familiar sense: it’s an amplified sense of something oppressive and stifling.

And with that, a little confusion.

The first time I wondered if it was just my mood of the moment, outside life reflecting back in my studio practice, but it’s returned each time, so I suspect there’s more to it than that.

Hidden Links

Every color has connections and associations, some commonly accepted and some more personal to the individual.

Rolling meadows and fields, lush long grass, deep forests with winding paths with their curious rustlings (usually squirrels). These are all things I love, and I’ll instinctively seek refuge here when the modern world gets too frenetic.

I think it’s something primal that connects the color green with a sense of soothing tranquility.

And yet none of those feelings, which I’d expect to accompany a month of green painting have turned up. Just the opposite.

All this led me to wonder if the problem lies in the synthetic nature of green paint. Maybe when my unconscious brain sees so much green but doesn’t sense any chlorophyll, it gets agitated. (when it comes to landscape painting, there are a bunch of recipes for natural greens that don’t involve any readymade green paint. But I digress…)

Maybe, maybe not. I’m not here to dig out a reason, I’m here to seek a solution. I’ve circled back around to a lesson I picked up early on in TWELVTY:

When single colors are too intense and overwhelming, dilute the intensity with tonal contrast:

  • Darken the darks and lighten the lights – right the way up to black and white if need be.
  • Leave white space, add white to desaturate the color.
  • Water down ink or paint to build up delicate layers, increase intensity in places but leave ‘quiet’ places.
  • Begin with black or darkest green background, add elements of brighter, lighter green.
  • Pull color back by adding water to wet paint or ink, dabbing & wiping with a rag or sponge.

Simple is not always easy.

All that said and done, I don’t find holding back on color easy.

One way around this is to paint across a few pieces at once, setting pieces aside before they get too covered and moving along to the next one. Sometimes I’m a bit heavy handed, but I know I can always go back to and tweak the tones with white or black once they’re dry 😉

With that in mind for some first layers, let’s play.

Join me next week to find out what I did with these bits of greenery next.


“Twelvty” 12 Colors in 12 Months

Every month this year I am making a series of pieces in just one color. At the end of the year I’ll combine them into one big multicolored work. 

I’m sharing my process throughout this adventure here in this blog. (So far this year I’ve explored Yellow & Yellow-Green)

I’d love for you to join me. TWELVTY is open to everyone, and better yet, it’s free!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and get your free TWELVTY guide ebook. 

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

You’ll get an email to confirm you’ve signed up and are human. Sorry, only humans (and their cats) can join. Check your spam folder cos sometimes the good stuff gets swept in there by mistake. Check with your cat too. You know it’s what they expect.

Color Connections

Yesterpost I showed you a black & white photo of a paint doodle and asked for guesses what the ‘real’ colors are. 

I kept you waiting longer than I intended, only cos sometimes the days gallop by and all of a sudden it’s much later. So here we are, and here it is!

Yesterpost I showed you a black & white photo of a paint doodle and asked for guesses what the ‘real’ colors are.

I kept you waiting longer than I intended, only cos sometimes the days gallop by and all of a sudden it’s much later. So here we are, and here it is!

img_3761.jpg

If you guessed red or green then you can consider yourself correct and I’ll message you with a link to claim your prize! 😀 YAY!

Thanks for playing along- it was really interesting to know what colors you ‘saw’.

Color is a real fascination of mine, and the more I learn the more intrigued I become. 

This painting is one of a series which I made for a little ecourse all about color combinations: TWELVTY XTRA which I’m offering as a gift to folks on my email list. It will be available in a few weeks, so if you’re interested, join up now, and I’ll email you as soon as it launches.

 

day 4: 12 days of Twelvty

Over the last 12 days of the year I’m sharing my year of color: 12 colors in 12 months. Today –
Twelvty-Four: Blue-Green

 

Twelvty-Four: Blue-Green

Teal, Turquoise, Mermaids & Peacocks

 

 

 

“A turquoise given by a loving hand carries with it happiness and good fortune.”
~  Arabic proverb

colorwheelColor is an integral part to all types of creativity.

Colors have been assigned meanings and connections throughout history and around the world.

Sometimes these overlap and sometimes they are contradictory. Color is a great metaphor for so many aspects this wildly paradoxical trip we call life.

Through 2017 I’ve been exploring color in a year long visual adventure: devoting myself to just one color each month.

In Twelvty-Four I had the most fun making a series of layered stitched collages, made from dyed paper and fabrics, embellished with beads and buttons and shiny things.

Each month also has a few pages of single color doodles in this mixed media art journal.

 

Over the last 12 days of the year I’m sharing a glimpse of this 12 month project.

We began with Yellow, Yellow-Green, then Green tomorrow we’ll step around to Twelvty-Five: Blue 


If you’re interested in understanding more about color, get my ebook A Year full of Color as well as regular monthly updates on my latest colorful antics, delivered right to your inbox:

YearFullOfColorbyPennGregoryR2017_Page_01

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be guarded at all times by dragons.


Next year I’m revisiting the Twelvty project, but this time with some exciting additions! Find out more here

Registration for TWELVTY 2018 is open now!
Find out more & join here

penngregoryTwelvty1200x574

day 3: 12 days of Twelvty

Over the last 12 days of the year I’m sharing my year of color: Today –
Twelvty-Three: Green. And green is tricksy!

 

Twelvty-Three: Green

Emerald, Jade & Verdant Viridian!

“They’ll sell you thousands of greens. Veronese green and emerald green and cadmium green and any sort of green you like; but that particular green, never.”
Pablo Picasso, 1966.

colorwheelGreen

Color is an integral part to all types of creativity, it influences our moods and emotions, it’s linked with memories. Colors have been assigned meanings and connections throughout history and around the world.

When we tune our eyes in to notice the colors around us, life becomes brighter and more vibrant.

Through 2017 I’ve been exploring these aspects of color in a year long visual adventure: one color each month.

 

Every color has certain characteristics, both in appearance, but also in the way it behaves. This month I discovered: Green is tricksy!

I really enjoyed playing in the colors either side – Yellow-Green & Blue-Green – but Green itself was strangely difficult. Whatever I tried in just green alone stubbornly refused to take shape.

It came as no surprise to me that I enjoyed using Green’s neighbours in the color wheel (the tertiary ‘in betweening’ colors are my favs), but didn’t anticipate Green presenting such unsettlement. Of course there’s always a way to adapt, the projects I began in Green spilt over into the following month and I shifted the colors into blue green.

Meanwhile, back in the art journal, the single coloured spreads continued.

 

Over the last 12 days of the year I want to show you a glimpse of this project.

We began with Yellow, then Yellow-Green tomorrow we’ll step around to Twelvty-Four: Blue-Green.


If you’re interested in understanding more about color, get my ebook A Year full of Color as well as regular monthly updates on my latest colorful antics, delivered right to your inbox:

YearFullOfColorbyPennGregoryR2017_Page_01

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be guarded at all times by dragons.


Next year I’m revisiting the Twelvty project, but this time with some exciting additions! Find out more here

Registration for TWELVTY 2018 is open now!
Find out more & join here

penngregoryTwelvty1200x574

Little Green Things

colorwheelspiralIn my year full of color, I’m taking one step around the color each month. 12 colors in 12 months. 

It’s a logical progression at a steady pace that suits my practice well.

I’m documenting and sharing my experience as I go in an online program, TWELVTY, along with all the myriad resources I gather along the way.

There’s a new creative project every month, and there’s an art journal that has a few pages devoted to each month. Over the year this book will develop into a mixed media color-wheel-book. (A bit like this one – which inspired this year’s journey)

At the end of each month the art I made is available to buy online, and I make some little flip through videos of the art journal pages for my YouTube channel.

 

If you’ve visited this blog before, you will have seen some. They look like this

 

Months 1, 2 & 4. Erm…?

 

If you know me at all, you’ll know that this logical, consecutive, stepping order is not in keeping with my natural method. Any attempt to follow a structured system is liable to cause a part of my brain to misfire. I plan, I organise, I wander off route. Every freaking time!

Over the years I’ve found ways to make peace (mostly) with these quirks. I dance about in my own kind of high octane chaos. I enjoy making these colorful little schedules and lists. These are the compass by which I course-correct along my wiggly route.

 

 

At almost the half way point in the year, I’ve kept order to the creative part, but the end of month sharing schedule has gone a little catawompus.

Which is why – having shown you Twelvty-Four’s blue-green creative output already – today I want to show you the little green goodies I made during  Twelvty-Three!

In this month of Green I made this small collection of greetings cards from little bundles of hand dyed papers, held together with stitching. But they are more than that. They are also pieces of art you can frame and love forever. These are delicate and intricate, the more you look the more you see.

If you hop on over to my Etsy shop you may be in time to snap one up before they go.


Would you like to have news on my doings and makings delivered straight to your inbox? Would you like to hear about my colorful doings and makings before anyone else? 

~~~ AND ~~~ AND ~~~ AND ~~~

As a treat for the summer there’s a special discount code for my Etsy Shop especially for folks on my mailing list.

Sign up here and I’ll whizz it right over to you

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

yearfullofcolorbypenngregory_page_01

Your email is utterly safe to me. I won’t let it stay up late or eat junk food, it can sleep in late on weekends if it wants to.

What 3 months of color looks like…

These are the art journal pages from the first three months of Twelvty: This is the story so far.

January: Yellow

 

When I look at these pages I’m whisked back the to adventures and explorations of the first month of this year long adventure. Using just one color brings out nuances and subtleties too quiet to hear above the sound of other colors. 

I chose yellow as a starting place in the color wheel because it is simple, it is small. 

There’s not much space or contrast in yellow – take it darker and you have shades of ochre, tan into browns. Only a smidge lighter before you hit white. No room to step either way before falling into yellow-orange or yellow-green, and they have their own months in Twevlty.

Yellow is compact with well defined parameters. 

 

February: Yellow-Green

Yellow-green: the first tertiary color we explored – and suddenly there’s a depth of tone to play with. Luscious lime to opulent olive.  Chartreuse. Char-freaking-treuse, people! 

And here’s the beginning of the “is it or isn’t it?” questions that will bob up all through this year. When does it stop being yellow and start being green? Where’s the spot in the middle? We’re navigating a continuum, there are no strict boundaries. It’s all part of the fun 😉

March: Green

Another month, another step round, deeper into greens. Each collage scrap and cut out shape here has a story and will serve to remind me of ideas that were born and then took a turn I didn’t foresee. I’m only the vehicle through which these ideas come to being, sometimes I forget this and try to control them. But, like water,  they find their own way.

 

This book is the place a leave seeds of ideas to incubate: reminders to a me-in-the-future. We’re nearing the end of a month of blue-green as I type this to you, and about to dive into the ocean of blue for May. Check back to see the cool bluey loveliness that emerges!

 


Would you like to get sporadic updates on my thoughts and drawings delivered right to your inbox? Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up in blankets. I will bring it tea and biscuits on Wednesdays.

Happy Birthday!

(But more on that in a moment… first let me set the scene…)

I was telling you about how TWELVTY has begun to take on a life of its own. It’s just a few weeks into its year long life and it’s not going the way I imagined…

Instead of being the set of 12 individual colored months, like I first planned, TWELVTY is turning into a story made of 12 chapters. They are woven together and already I can see that taken separately they lose the essential essence of the story. The full year of color has a life the months alone can’t provide. 

To begin I wanted to make this program available to join throughout the year, but what I didn’t know then was how all-encompassing it was to become! It’s grown beyond my imaginings, and to be honest if someone was to join later in the year I don’t think they’d get the full magic of being a part of TWELVTY just by accessing the material retrospectively.

So I’ve decided to close the doors on TWELVTY at the end of this month.
No more new recruits after the end of February. 
 

But wait up! that’s not all….
Before the doors close, as today is my birthday ………

I’m going to gift 2 FREE PLACES in TWELVTY 2017 in a Prize Draw.

The prize draw runs from Friday 17th Feb for ONE WEEK.
Winners will be notified Saturday 25th February.

 

Are you someone who gets all lit up about color?
Would you love to join a tribe of creatives who are just like us?

If so, just jump on my mailing list here and
reply to the welcome email with the title “I’M IN!”
to add your name to the hat for the prize draw.

(and as a welcome, you get this little ebook all about color when you join my list)

yearfullofcolorbypenngregory_page_01

Want to find out more about what’s in TWELVTY – it’s all  over here . I also did a big ole Q&A post over here. Or ask me in the comments – I’m massively excited about this – ask me anything! (anything about TWELVTY…I don’t have answers to much else!)

I don’t know if I’ll be offering this program again. Next year has different adventures in store for me, so this could be ‘now or never’, folks! 

Reinvention

A few years ago I created a year long project, dedicating each month to a single colour. Beginning in January with red/purple – that gorgeous magenta I keep falling back into – I cycled my way month by month through the primary/secondary/tertiary colours, ending the year in Red.

Ever since I’ve had the desire to follow up on this and reinvent the idea.

So while I haven’t been over here in the world of Ephemeral-Gecko-ing, I’ve been busying myself on a new project ….but you will have to wait until tomorrow for all the details….

Meanwhile, here’s what the 12 colours in 12 months adventure looked like: