I now have yellow abstract paintings available as part of my painting portfolio. It’s taken me a while to get used to the colour yellow on my palette and here I explain why.
It’s January, it’s grey outside so I figured using yellow on my palette would be a good way to start off the year! Now I’m getting slightly addicted to that burst of brightness when I walk into my studio at Delta House Studios and literally feel like it’s calling me to make more yellow abstract paintings.
My relationship with yellow.
I have flirted with yellow on my painting palette for years but have never felt really comfortable making yellow abstract paintings. As a colour, I find it very difficult to use and up until now have struggled to pull some real depth out of yellow when I’m painting with it.
Perhaps this is because it is a primary colour but so too is blue and it’s consistently on my palette. The first tube of paint I reach for when beginning new work is generally Prussian blue- great on its own and great as a base mixing colour. Blue and I are old friends & I still feel like our relationship is just beginning. I could spend hours mixing the right slate blue/ grey and in the process find 10 other alternatives before noting their concoctions and measurements down in my visual diary.
So far this unfortunately has not been the relationship I have had with yellow, not until late last year. I was running low on paint, between Brexit and Covid, art materials have been difficult to get. I had a couple of tubes of Lemon yellow hue, Naples yellow & yellow ochre and decided I may as well try them again, try and work something out of their tones. And magically it worked.
This happened as I was finishing work for last years open studios (find out more here) at my studio block Delta House Studios. I didn’t have much time to sit and ponder working with a new colour but instead felt my way into painting with yellow.
I’m quite comfortable in my painting process now. Working with rock landscapes is the first time in a long time that I feel I’m producing the type of paintings I want to make and am confident with which direction I want to push my work. This inevitably helps when you introduce a new colour to your palette as your using the same process and format just trying a new way of looking at these through a new colour.
The above paintings were the result of pulling out the yellow tubes of paint that I wanted to ignore. I’m not only pleased with them and consider them a successful addition to my wider body of work but I really enjoy having them in the studio and know that they will provide inspiration for my next series of paintings.
Yellow tested me & this is a good thing, otherwise, we get too comfortable. Maybe blue and I are too familiar with each other and we need to have some time apart!
Yellow Through Art History
Ofcourse, I can’t talk about yellow without paying homage to some of the greats who really put yellow on the visual map. The Dutch impressionist painter Van Gogh and his famed sunflowers, Andy Warhols Banana & Rothko’s colour field paintings which included a whole series devoted to the colour yellow. I recently came across the work of sculptor Wolfgang Laib. He collects pollen from various plants & uses the bright yellow dust to make his work. I find his work intense yet refreshing, let me know what you think!
Thanks for reading, Aisling