• Rebecca Wakeling

The Power of Colour


Out of the seven elements of Art, Colour continues to be the biggest influence on my work.

Throughout college, we were encouraged to take part in regular life classes that usually consisted of quick sketches before progressing onto a longer sketch or painting for the final pose. When I first started the classes, I felt lost and overwhelmed about how to emphasis the lights and dark tones correctly without just making a non-specific nude colour.

After researching artists, I loved the mark making style of Lucian Freud as well as his use of colour. In particular his self-portraits include a varied palette that enable the shadows and highlights to be differentiated so well.

I was also looking at the portraits by Francis Bacon and loved how brave and bold the colour choices were by comparison.


Self portrait - Francis Bacon

I then started to play around with a more varied palette during life class and marked out the darkest areas in cool colours such as blues, purples and the lightest areas in warm yellows & oranges. I would then fill in any left over areas with a more neutral colour. I found that by limiting the number of colours on my palette enabled a clearer vision of what I wanted to achieve.



I replicated this technique whilst creating the painting ‘Standing Strong’ using blues and purples for the darkest tones, yellows & orange for the lightest, and green for the mid tones. In an attempt to not get drawn into achieving perfectly blended colour, I painted this piece using my fingers and began layering colours on top of each other, keeping blending to the minimum. I am very pleased with the outcome of this and the depth that has been achieved. For the background too i was able to create additional texture to contrast against the flow of paint on the trunk.

Reflection - Lucian Freud

During my time at college, I continued to explore colour and loved studying the Fauvist movement. Artists such as Andre Derain and Henri Matisse have definitely had a great influence on my work and I hope will continue to inspire me.




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