Pushing Boundaries: Local Color



I decided to paint the colors that inspire me each day. It made it easier for me to notice and appreciate the smallest of things.




Every now and then, stop and ask yourself: What steps am I taking to push my own boundaries?



During one of my recent trips to the bookshop, I chanced upon a book titled, Local Color written by Mimi Robinson. As I was flipping through the pages and absorbing information, there was an instance where everything just clicked into place. It deeply inspired me to become engaged with colors. In turn, this lead me to experiment and practice with palettes and made me see things in a completely different way. It's amazing how, as simple as, a few visuals and words in a book can trigger a deep sense of motivation inside of us and pursue a leap of change.

Being self-taught and coming from a place without absolutely no background knowledge on art, I had to be a slave for research. Ever since I started taking painting seriously, I've come across a lot of articles and reading materials about composition, techniques, and so on. But one thing I took for granted was color theory. I would constantly see other artists creating color schemes and laying down all the pigments they'll use for their palette prior to working on a painting.

I realized doing this means consistency and to be honest, I never did what any traditional artist does. I went with the flow of my painting and I could care less about colors and it's theories (I'm terrible, I know). Of course, when I study a reference, I would ultimately decide or pick out the color tones and values I would make use of. My method is usually mixing them along the way, so evidently when I stop working (only to resume later on), I would be lost as to what palette I've been using. Usually, I would just pick up my brush and eyeball everything else until I finish.

For quite some time, that technique worked out well enough for me. Call it ignorance if you will, but that's how I did it. But as time went on, it didn't seem enough and I had to come up with another process. I never had a problem with my former practice, per se, but I've reached a level where I wanted to be more appreciative and aware of my palette. With this came along exploring and playing around with a variety of hues, because (if you haven't noticed it yet) I tend to limit my palette choice and this was quickly becoming old and redundant to me.

In light of that, I decided to paint the colors that inspire me each day - from personal experiences down to photographs that I either took or see online. The need to note it down increased when I made a trip to Hawaii. Apparently, more than a week of being constantly around Mother Nature does that to you and it made it easier for me to notice and appreciate the smallest of things. This included the diversity of colors I would see each day. The varied hues: from the sunrise to the sunset, from the city to the beach, from the ocean to the mountains, gave me an overflowing sense of painting and visually translating everything onto paper.

I started sharing my day to day palette just a week back. I did it as a warm up prior to starting on an illustrative work and it made for a great pre-painting session. It challenges me to see and recreate the colors I've encountered with and this further fuels my creativity. I've already accumulated quite a number of palettes and tonight I'm sharing some of them with you.

It's incredible to realize the countless color schemes you can create with a few pigments. Honestly, I don't know why I'm only realizing this now. But as they say, we all learn at our own pace and I'm entirely pleased with myself for taking a step to push my boundaries and skills, and of course opening myself to learn new things.

What about you? What are the new things you're opening yourself up to? It's a nice question to reflect on with your journey as a creative. So every now and then, stop and ask yourself: What steps am I taking to push my own boundaries?