Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bauhaus exercise

Years ago I read a book that described an exercise one of the Bauhaus teachers (was it Oskar Schlemmer?) developed for his students. They were to draw a grid containing 25 squares and then to fill in the squares with watercolours. There, as far as I remember, the guidelines stopped. They could use as many or few different colours as they wanted and fill out any big or small number of squares, thus creating their own individual palette. Somehow I think of it as a mood board for colours.

Today after all these years, I had my second go at this exercise. Why did I wait so long? It is fun, it is somehow meditative, it is quick, if you want it to be. And it can be altered and changed to your momentary needs in so many ways! This time I didn't use watercolours but these Oil pastels my boyfriend's sister gave me for my birthday.




She really is one of the people actively encouraging me to draw/paint more, for Christmas she gave me this.

Of course, using these oil pastels changes the nature of the exercise a bit. With the watercolours you are meant to mix your own custom colours, with the oil pastels it's more of a pick and mix situation (while of course they can be custom-mixed if you want to). Here is today's result:


A sampler of colours you can use to deliberate the colours of your new project, for example. It may not be spectacular, but for me it is just exciting that such a simple exercise includes and opens up so many possibilities. You can take as much time to deliberate as you want, you can let it sit there being perfected for days or do the kind of "go with the flow" exercise I did today. You could also use different media, or mixed media even, while you're at it. I think for next time I would like to incorporate collage. I'll let you know how it turns out! You could also easily use photographs, like Tricia Royal does at bits and bobbins! Inspiring indeed! :-)

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