Back to Black


During the first few weeks of my year one at the Academy, I've seen an abundance of great art - in fellow students' studios, at New York galleries, during class lectures. Lately, I am drawn to art that has a kaleidoscope of color.  However, during our first-year painting course we've had to refrain from loading our palettes with a wide range of colors. Small black and white studies currently fill the studios. 

At first, when I learned we'd be using limited palettes for the first few weeks of painting, I was less than enthused. For me, not using color is like a baking without butter or sugar — no fun! I also couldn't help but think that our class, full of already highly skilled artists, was above such rudimentary exercises. I was very wrong! 

By going back to the basics we learned about light and color much more in-depth level than I though possible. My painting instructor JP Roy did a demo using several tubes of black paint to show us the range of color that's possible when only using black paint - Ivory Black, Blue Black, Mars Black, Black Spinnel, Chromatic Black.  Coincidentally, it had been a rainy week in New York, so with the foggy and hazy atmosphere is exaggerating the wide range of blacks and greys in New York!


Painting with JP Roy
Black&White Study - Self Portrait
Black Paint Demo


Black&White Study - Self Portrait













When we were allowed to add a warm color to our palette, we focused on warm and cool light. Instead of just copying the still-life in front of us, we learned to understand where the light is coming from and break down the form into areas of temperature, i.e. light mass, core shadow, reflected light, cast shadow, specular light. Last week we were asked to bring in raw meat or fish, for a still-life that lends itself well to a warm/cool palette. After an early morning adventure to the fishmarket in Chinatown, I brought a barely dead crab and a mackerel to class for my still-life. By the end of the day our classroom and everyone in it REAKED! But the class produced some appetizing paintings :)


Self Portait


Warm/Cool Palette

Still Life for Warm/Cool Palette
Shopping for fishies!

My Studio

Since we've been painting using a limited palette, I've begun to notice the many artists whose work lies whithin this limited color range. Here are a few I've looked to for inspiration:

Giorgio Morandi, Still Life
Adrian Ghenie, "The Bath"
Luc Tuymans, "Der diagnostische Blick V"






























Dick Frizzel, Wavesong


Madeleine Hines (MFA 2014) will be blogging here throughout the year about her first year at the Academy and moving to New York City.  Check the label "First Year Experience" or "Madeleine Hines" for more posts about her first year at the Academy.

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