Playing With Colours

Playing With Colours


Anong Beam, the force behind Beam Paints  a sustainable company selling  non-toxic, environmentally friendly, paints and products was raised in M'chigeeng (pronounced Shi-Geeng) First Nation on Manitoulin Island in Canada.

I was confused about the two blues in her set of Primary Six Mixes collection mainly because I'm not familiar with watercolour which is more deeply pigmented than opaque paints I've used and because it's a transparent media.

Anong's company has obviously done it's research and discovered ways of producing light-fast paints using sustainable ingredients like honey and beeswax instead of plastics. They've produced quality paints without the forever poisons of  traditional paints like the Cadmium Reds, Oranges and Yellows. When I was going through Art School, we watched our instructors lick their brushes to get the point back on the end during and after painting and we used all the Cadmiums ... and many of us did that. We wanted to be like the cool guys. We've since been made aware of the dangers of so many art supplies used back then, on a daily basis. 

Cadmiums have been responsible for a variety of illnesses. Some succumbed to flu-like symptoms that ironically became known as the Cadmium Blues.

Though my initial intuition was correct on the Beam Blues, I still, managed to get them wrong. I knew deep down that the darker blue clearly leaned into the cool greens and I even heard myself say it in today's video. Where I veered off was in leaning to far into their names. First, Great Ocean had me thinking about cool deep waters and to me it was the prettier of the two, too and I became lost in ideas of cerulean blue "swimming pool" aqua colours, which was enough to cinch it for me to place it with the cool primaries. As soon as I saw it, though I could see it was a 'perfect ultramarine blue' hue.

The pretty one tricked me! I made it the cool guy. 

Again, my mistake immediately became apparent once I put paintbrush to paper with Almost Night, the dark mysterious one.

I made a few errors. I'm quite used to making mistakes. It's often how I learn best. So, in doing so, with these two, I hope, I'm ensured of remembering next time.

A lot of people learn this way, experientially learning by doing.

And we can learn by doing things over and over again. Deep, almost automatic motor muscle memory skills can develop where something like drawing becomes like riding a bike. I have found this to be true. Sometimes, I watch, in fascination, from the corner of my eye, as my hand draws. It seems to know where to go as it repeats on the paper what my focused central vision explores. Of course, it's taken years of practice and remembering to calm my eyes and consciously relax my gaze enough to allow them to roll smoothly over surfaces in concert with its partner, the pencil.

And, of course, there are days when this is not so and everything seems off. When I was younger, persistence paid off. Now, when those days occur, is when I most need to let go, shake myself slightly and have a good laugh.

I hope my mixing paint session with myself that I've shared with you, here, hasn't mixed you up, too much. If you have any questions about anything, leave them in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer correctly.



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