Wet-on-wet complimentary colours


160721a Waterfall with Sun and Stars (2016) oil on paper 40 x 30cm

Started as a blending exercise but turned into a “picture”. Having covered the background  in colour from the blue-green-yellow side of the colour wheel, I experimented adding marks in complementary colours from the orange-red-purple side.

Mostly I tried to make these marks direct complementaries of whatever area of colour they were on top of (i.e. orange on blue, red on green, purple on yellow). I painted wet-on-wet, using a thick impasto to prevent the new marks from blending with the colour underneath. Avoiding blending required a dabbing action which resulted in clumsy mark-making and arbitrary forms. At the time I was only paying attention to colour contrasts, but on reflection I like these clumsy forms. The two large red-orange lumps on  the left remind me of shapes painted by Philip Guston.


Philip Guston Untitled (Cup) (1969-73)

While I was experimenting with the colour I noticed that the whole page resembled a child’s drawing (ie. the “sun” in the upper left; a waterfall; some kind of limbed being on the lower left; a purple “dog” on the lower right). I liked seeing the painting in this way – as child-like primitive figuration, as opposed to abstraction. In keeping with this, I added “stars” around the sun/moon. Making a child-like painting reminded me of Art Brut (Dubuffet, Appel, Jorn, etc.) and, more recently, André Butzer.


Andre Butzer Untitled (2007) oil on canvas 200 x 140cm


One thought on “Wet-on-wet complimentary colours

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