Colour is my boyfriend

I love colour! But for me, colour is like that boyfriend with whom you keep breaking up and then getting back together. Why do we break up? Sometimes, because other people say we should, “M.A., you could sell more work, if it was more…subtle…” or “Do you really need to use every colour, every time?” Sometimes, because the light or season changes, and bright colour seems too harsh. Sometimes, because I want to do something different, just for the sake of change. Pretty much all the various reasons you break up with anyone, but luckily colour is that steady kind of boyfriend who sticks around.

Right now, I’m back together with bright colour, and I’m playing with coloured resin. I love its transparency, its vibrant colour and the fact I can’t predict how it will turn out. It’s tough to manipulate resin, I pour out a lovely swirling pattern and next thing I know, it’s a blotchy puddle. Or I try to mix my tints and come up with a strange snot-coloured green instead of the bright lime I was aiming for. And when I’m in this colour mood, I do want to use ALL the colours ALL the time. These smaller paintings were all done in the past two weeks, but I am in the final stages of completing seven new large paintings. They are just getting to the exciting phase, where I have completed a lot of layers and I’m getting ready to rip them back and see what’s beneath. And since I’m in a colourful phase right now, that will definitely influence the final product.

I’m really excited, and right now it looks like my boyfriend, Colour, will be sticking around for a while…

City and Colour

Yesterday I told you about how I fell in love with Mike Kelley’s miniature city the moment I saw it, I even wanted to live there. Will it ever be possible to live in a translucent resin city? Well, that might be something I regret the first morning when I go to take a shower, or possibly when I have to watch others doing the same. However there are places in the real world where colour does rule, and in the past week I’ve seen a few of them on blogs and on my facebook feed, so I thought I’d round them up for you.



First off, a timely Olympic salute from Plenty of Colour, finds London’s Riverbank Arena for field hockey embracing the limitless possibilites of artificial turf. Instead of pretend grass green, they’re using a cerulean blue and a hot pink. It’s generating buzz from the media, and the decision was not a purely aesthetic one (unlike my life where I make all purchase decisions based primarily on colour) these colours were chosen to be easier for spectators to process. 




Here’s the lovely painted house of Katwise, a fabric artist in New York state. She took a shabby white house and transformed it into a piece of colourful art. She chronicles the whole process on her website, including the day she walked into the paint store and said “Give me one of everything!” She’s truly an artist living her aesthetic in all aspects of her life. That reminds me, sometime I’ll have to give you a tour of my house where colour rules as well, although not this vibrantly.





Finally in Taipei, as part of Very Fun Park 2012 (Really? The project name alone is making me happy!) Takashi Iwasaki has designed beautiful temporary installation on the Fubon Financial Centre. Not only does it look cheerful and buoyant, it perfectly conveys his artistic style on an enormous scale. If you’re not going to Taipei, you can find his work on a smaller scale on his website or at an August show in Winnipeg. I’ll be going to Winnipeg soon, so I’ll check it out and report back.


Colour has the power to uplift our everyday lives when it’s used in design. As I mentioned, my own home is very colourful and I find it a cheering contrast to the grey Vancouver weather. Occasionally people ask me for help in choosing their paint colours, and I’m always encouraging them to go for something bold and crazy. It really makes you feel happier, and that’s worth a lot!

A great week in the studio

I’m currently working on seven panels at once, which is a lot even for someone like me, who hails from Short Attention Span, Ontario. At the early stages, I often work similar motifs on all the paintings, they evolve gradually into something more unique.
Anyway, the painting is going really well, and here’s a sampling of my past week at the studio. 


I can’t get enough ombre, my resin work and
now my paintings have that dip-dye look.
The cats better watch out…

Did some collaged stripes with a 60’s feel.


I started striping it, but I stopped since it looked great already.

The stripes led to patchwork patterns.


More crazy quilts, I think it’s the combination of order and wild pattern I like.



 These lovely layers are already gone, and now I’m working on some florals inspired by spring.  Stay tuned…

The colour for 2011

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When I was a kid, I longed for the really big box of crayons. I think it had 32 crayons and a little sharpener in the side. Now there’s a box of 96 different colours, I think my little brain might have overloaded with that many colours.  However, like the Easy Bake Oven I also wanted, this desire was never fulfilled and it has resulted in my constant craving for more and more art supplies.  I can only justify this desire by using everything in my work, and so I try very hard to incorporate new materials all the time.

One thing you will never find me using is muddy colours, colours that combine complementary elements, for example a red with some green in it. I love the pure tones, the pure pigment colours and obviously, too bright is never a problem for me. Right now I am experimenting with transparent coloured resin, and I love the bright electric hues I can achieve, like the pink in Spiral Joy (below).


And speaking of pink, Pantone has come out with its colour for the year. This is a company that began producing colour catalogues which I remember using them in my ad agency days, but has now gone on to market various colour products like coffee mugs and shopping bags, and also markets the intellectual idea of colour and colour trends.

In any case, Pantone chooses a new colour each year, and predicts that the colour will be used in fashion, home decor and new products.  The colour for 2011 is pink, specifically a peachy pink they call Honeysuckle.


And this makes me happy, because I love pink. Really, if a painting is missing something, I just add pink and that makes it perfect.  Think pink!