August 13th, 2022

Workshop at Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Mayo

Colour- its phenomena and practise, with Roger Chavez

Description: From a painter’s point of view learn how our vision responds to colour and its relationship to light – this will bring us to an examination of prismatic hues, earth tone colours and the colour systems.

Roger Chavez is a painter based in Philadelphia, who was over here in Mayo for a residency in Ballinglen Arts Foundation.  He has a really gentle playful vibe and is one of those people who brings an atmosphere of relaxation to wherever he is. You can see this in his paintings which are so restful.

The first part of the workshop was all about making your palette and mixing colours…and a general talk about the mystery of colour! The second part was a studio visit, followed by a plein air session in the garden.

He recommended having as big a palette as possible if you are in your studio- for example a big sheet of heavy glass with a soft white sheet of paper underneath. (This matches the colour of your canvas, or use wooden palette if you were painting on a wooden board). And start with a limited colour palette and expand out from there. Lay out your colours in the same place each time to train your hand/brain to the set up. He said to play around with mixing the colours even if you don’t think you’ll definitely use them straight away- just to help to sensitise yourself to the colours.
There was lots more information then about prepping your canvas/paper/wooden panel.

Roger spoke about how renaissance painters used red/green/yellow not just for the symbolism but to balance and relax the eye, giving it a full spectrum of colours…and he showed us lots of examples.

After the paint mixing morning we got a studio visit! I was over excited to get in to see Rogers paintings- he’s working on a series of paintings simultaneously for his residency. (Actually I welled up when I saw them, they were very powerful).
I asked him what it was like to be working on the same painting over a long period of time and he said that he allows himself to make a different painting each time and isn’t afraid to completely change/abandon the old one- so you end up coming fresh to it each time. So each time he revisits a painting in progress he’s completely in the moment. And it can feel really different from the starting days to the way it ends up.

For the final part of the day we went outside for a bit of painting. Very cool purple clouds came along for a bit so I started with them on a view out towards the sea. I know I haven’t painted much but this has become one of my favourite paintings. I think I absorbed some of Rogers serenity in it!

Afterwards I went to see Downpatrick Head then got a quick swim in at Ross Strand, so overall a perfect day in Mayo!! (Visit my instagram to see the views!)

Photo by Ballinglen Arts Foundation