Mud is not a Color on the Artists’ Color Wheel

Caption © 2105 Alicia R Peterson, Diagonal Angsty, acrylic on linen, 20 x 16 inches $650 Photo: Peter Scheer

© 2015 Alicia R Peterson, Diagonal Angsty, acrylic on linen, 20 x 16 inches $650 Photo: Peter Scheer

Before I know what’s happening, the teacher rips my canvas out of my hands, exclaiming, “You are doing it all wrong!”

No, Not Again!

During my first painting class in 1996, I had a stand off with my teacher… I wanted to paint abstractly and she wanted me to paint what I saw with my eyes. Click here if you missed the story and see who won the staring match.

A mere 14 years later, a new class, new teacher, new me.

I thought, “Surely this will work.” But I have another “incident.”I am filled with enthusiasm. I have a list of questions for the teacher and in my usual pose of keener, I am early for the first class. The class starts out viewing some of the teacher’ s work, as he is an accomplished representational painter. I am thinking, “Uh oh, am I the only one here who paints with their ‘ inside eyes’?”

I declare to myself that I will “fit in” this class. The teacher asks us to make a start by painting from photographs. Hum… I have never done this.

© 2015Alicia R Peterson, Underneath, acrylic on linen, 40 x 30 inches, $1300 Photo: Peter Scheer

© 2015 Alicia R Peterson, Underneath, acrylic on linen, 40 x 30 inches, $1300 Photo: Peter Scheer

Over Painting = MUD

No matter, I am determined to learn. But, since I am so not used to painting in front of people my anxiety leads to a classic painting disaster…. MUD. I know the work I am producing is not good but I keep adding paint…not the best approach. What emerges on my canvas is a putrid color. All the colors congeal into a very distasteful mud color. Before I know what’ s happening, the teacher rips my canvas out of my hands, exclaiming “You are doing it all wrong!”

No, I Don’t Throw Paint (this time) but I Want to

I am stunned and happily do not listen to the urge to throw paint. I sit and try to find my inner peace. I believe that there is knowledge to be gained in this class and I dig my heals in and start again. I spend a morning and afternoon moving paint around to no good results and with nothing new in my art brain except discouragement. I take my all-wrong painting and do not return for the second class. I go back to my studio and paint on the “Mud” canvas. A new work, Art Class Drop-Out, appears and this painting I like. I return to painting in solitude in my studio.

© 2008, Alicia R Peterson, Art School Drop Out. Acrylic on panel, 9 x 12 inches. NFS, Photo: Artist

© 2008 Alicia R Peterson, Art School Drop Out. Acrylic on panel, 9 x 12 inches. NFS, Photo: Artist

Tell us your stories of making mud when you tried too hard in the Comments section below.

4 comments to Mud is not a Color on the Artists’ Color Wheel

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