Colour Project: Leaning from The Steep Slope

WP_20141007_003Today we received a new brief which expands upon the work we have done during the colour workshops. The eventual outcome of the brief will be three professionally presented illustrations that reflect descriptive elements in a short story called ‘Leaning from the steep slope’ by Italo Calvino. On my first read-through of the story I was a bit baffled and didn’t really understand what was happening due to the unusual writing style of the author. It began to make more sense the more I read it however, and I was able to get a feel for the gloomy mood and atmosphere of the story, and the strange state of mind of the narrator. When Anna read the story aloud to us earlier today, we were asked to respond using colour as we listened. This was helpful as it allowed us to get a sense of the colour palette we felt would suit the story. I found myself using mainly a combination of dark blues and greens, as I felt there was an overriding sense of darkness and pessimism. I found also that the aspects of the story which stuck in my mind the most were the abstract feelings and ideas such as uncertainty and death, which surprised me because I usually go for a more figurative approach in my work.

Above are two initial responses to the story – both are very abstract to reflect the things they represent. The image on the left was inspired by the imagery of the sea, beach and general coastal atmosphere (hence the greens and blues) combined with the dark emotions and sense of danger within the story. In the right image the darker, greener colours are creeping up on the lighter yellows – this represents the constant sense of impending doom or the ‘end of the world’ which the narrator seems to feel is coming. This abstract style is not something I am particularly used to, but I found I actually enjoyed the freedom it gave me to convey things without much inhibition.

For my next step, I think I would like to further explore this abstract style and focus on the feelings and mental state of the narrator. I intend to research artists who suffer(ed) mental illnesses and use their work as inspiration for my colour palettes and mark making.


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