Shades of Grey

I’m now four classes in to my oil painting class at OCAD. For starters, my teacher is amazing. I’m more than a little star struck. Not only is his work stellar, but he’s also a really great instructor. His name is Bogdan Luca. His work reminds me of waking from a really intense dream and not being sure of whether I am awake or asleep.

This year, in my own artistic journey, I’ve endeavoured to learn more about color. I feel as if I’ve finally made some real headway in that direction. Learning about colour feels like seeing the world as I’ve never seen it before – in higher resolution. At my painting class we’ve often been challenged to create grey tones that are in a sense colourless. The word grey is really a catch-all for the myriad of tones that cannot be described by any other colour reference. The world of grey can simultaneously be tinted to be brownish or reddish or bluish or yellowish – all depending on how you get to that colour mix. I finally understand why my art teacher forbade the use of black to mix colour all those years ago – because when you learn how to arrive at certain tones without black, there is a depth of colour that becomes discernable. It seems as if your eye can somehow detect the many tones within the single pigment. This world of grey constitutes a great deal of what we actually see.

The mind autofills so much of our interpretation of what we see. A wooden table appears at first to be brown – but when you pay attention to what your eyes actually see, without letting your mind interpret it for you, the truth is that the reflection of light off that table is what describes its form. Therefore what one paints is the reflection of light, married with its shadows. This is the world of grey.

Shades of Grey - no black used

Shades of Grey – no black used

Im not sure as yet how this relates to abstract painting. All of our classes have focused on still life painting.

In terms of oil painting, I’m really enjoying the medium. Unique to oils is a depth of colour rendition that is quite lovely.

I have two more classes in this course. It’s been thoroughly worth the investment of time, money and travel. Working in a studio environment this way is so satisfying. At the end of each class I feel thoroughly spent in an altogether pleasant way.

Seagrape Grove

I started doing an Art class a three weeks ago with Alan Daniel, a local artist here in Kitchener. He’s a great teacher and an amazing artist. I’ve learned so much in just a couple of weeks. It’s nice working in a studio environment again.

The first week I went, I started looking at different types of abstract composition and different techniques of composition. I decided to try out a somewhat abstracted landscape, from a photo taken by a friend. The second and third week I worked on colour and form, building the piece with a mind for broadening my colour palette to incorporate more subtle hues than I’m accustomed to. I’m happy with the result. I’ve done other  abstracted landscapes but they have mostly been from memory or my imagination. This was at times quite challenging but having the photo helped keep me focused.

acrylic on canvas, 16 x 16"

acrylic on canvas, 16 x 16″

This piece is called Sea Grape Grove. There are so many tropical beaches that are fringed by this kind of landscape. In particular this piece reminds me of Back Bay in Tobago, where I have always loved the room like spaces created under the sea grape trees.