Using Colour in Your Painting Can be Scary

By Barbara Gabogrecan

Fish Giftwrap_1500Are you afraid of colour? For years I concentrated on drawing. Line, tone and texture were what I fell in love with.

I wanted to paint and use colour and decided to use oils as my medium. However, every time I added colour, it seemed like a tint or tone simply added interest to the strong linear designs that emphasised the positive and negative space. I could not seem to get colour to become my main focus.

Then one day, I took my two young children on a week’s holiday and stayed in a little cottage on a farm. Well, it was torrential rain every day we were there. I remember sitting on the toilet seat looking out the window to draw some lovely old trees just to give me something to do.

My kids sat on the bed watching TV and after two days, I suddenly thought “I am going to paint using colour”. Out came my oils and a palette knife. I started getting strong colour and got so involved in colour that suddenly the drawing took on the secondary roll.

I couldn’t stop. I worked into the night and over three days I had produced my first oil where colour took the primary roll. Shortly after I had someone ask me if they could buy it. I hesitated, thinking that I should keep my first successful painting. But I quickly let that thought go – after all, I could always paint another one.

And I did; for the next couple of years I painted a number of oil landscapes. I used either board or canvas to hold my colour. Some I used brushes, others just palette knives. I was soon emotionally swimming in a sea of colour.

But there was something not quite right. I felt that I hadn’t really captured colour in my head. At this time I found myself having to teach Art to 20 Chinese students doing their final year in secondary school (HSC).

I had no idea what the background of these young people would be; so where should I start? I figured that they would all know something about painting on silk, so I purchased all the equipment I would need for silk painting (using dyes, not paints).

Throughout the 6 week of school holidays, I practised painting on silk, and worked out a curriculum of activities for the students. And I never looked back.

I had found my soul. Six months later I resigned from my teaching career of 20 plus years and dedicated my life to painting, where colour was enhanced by my strong drawing and design skills.

If you want to learn how to paint on silk and experience the pure excitement of colour, join my online silk painting course.

Hints and Tips

It does not matter how long it takes, as long as you keep an open mind and are prepared to try new mediums and develop a wide range of skills, you will know when you have found the art that can come from your heart and soul.





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