Adventurous Colour

Adventurous Colour

I was fortunate enough to spend last weekend  drawing in the beautiful landscapes around West Dean with Mark Cazalet. He was an excellent tutor and the sun shone for us every day.

I signed up for this course hoping to come away using colour in a more considered way and Mark did not disappoint. He set us a number of exercises over the 3 days including using cool colours on warm grounds (papers) and vice versa, exploring the effects of black versus cream grounds and seeing the colours around us in a much less literal way.

The first drawing was made in the gardens, Mark suggested I redraw it from my original drawing without looking at the source.

It is interesting how the colours are so much more vibrant…

This one was a 10 minute sketch, playing with different colours to give and impression of depth, light and shade, the dark blue paper really made the yellows “pop”:


This drawing was exploring the combination of warm and cool colours together on a neutral ground:

enchanted forest.JPG

I had 10 minutes before we were expected to pack up and return to the studio so I did this one just for fun:

We were asked to create some sketches of abstract forms  from what we saw in the gardens, from those I repeated the same design several times on different coloured grounds, it is curious how the colour of the paper has such a an impact on the feel and tone of the drawing.



These last two drawings are my least favourite but it was an interesting exercise, the first was warm colours on a cool ground:

And cool colours on a warm ground:

Soft pastels on paper are a good media for exploring ideas you would like to develop in felt, the colour of the paper influences the colour of the pastels much like laying different coloured wools do, the colours mingle as the felt is fulled.

Now it is back to work for me! Enrolment for the new online felted bag class closes on the 22nd and the class starts in earnest on the 25th, I am still doing the final edits on the tutorials while trying to prepare for the Surrey Open Studios event beginning on June 2nd it is going to be a busy few weeks but both are projects I am really excited to be taking part in, if you would like to join in the fun please follow these links:

Felted bags online class: link

Surrey Open Studios: link


11 thoughts on “Adventurous Colour

  1. These are wonderful color studies Teri. I love seeing the different results with the different background colors. And I do see how the pastels would be a good choice for sketching before felting. What brand do you use?

    1. Good question Ruth 🙂 There was some discussion among the students about pastel choice, curiously very few liked the softer and more expensive Sennellier pastels, they deposited too much colour too quickly, clogging up the tooth on the paper. I mostly used the cheapo Inscribe brand and got on very well with them, they are softer than conte “crayons” but hard enough that you can achieve subtle deposits of colour quite easily. I also like that they come in half size blocks, making them more versatile if you want to draw wide lines with the side of the pastel. My Faber pastel pencils were really handy for adding small details but don’t work well if your paper is already clogged with soft pastel.

    1. Thank you Ladies, Mark suggested we should hang some of our work where we will see it everyday so you get to see where the positives and negative lie and really learn from them, TBH out of the 10 I think there are only 2 that I would want to see every day, but given that I went on this course to try new approaches and experiment with colour, a 20% success rate is pretty good 🙂

  2. Great exercises and results! I particularly liked that you used pastels, my mother used to work in pastels so it brought back nice memories.

    1. Thank you Marilyn, I am glad to hear my post evoked some happy memories 🙂

    1. Thank you Zed, I see what you mean it does look a lot like a colour negative from way back when before digital cameras became the norm.

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