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  • Deborah Pugh

How variety can set us up for success

We all want to create exciting paintings, so how do we go about that? Recently, while struggling with a new series, I started thinking about how to set myself up for success by looking at older successful works. I saw that variety was key. I looked for the things that made me happy and thought about how I had created them. This gave me some clues as to how to set myself up for success. I'm sure that it will change over time as I do this exercise at the beginning of each new series, but for now I came up with the list below:

  • Use a variety of tools. I find that laying out a variety of tools before I start working encourages me to create a variety of marks. Here I have flat and round brushes, a sign writers brush and a handmade brush, a pipette, a piece of card to print with, a spray bottle and handmade and purchased stencils.


  • Use colours that look good together and mix well. I have chosen three transparent analogous colours (Colours close together n the colour wheel) and one opaque contrasting colour plus black so that I can have some good darks.


  • In the first layers it is important to have contrasts: hard and soft edges; big, medium and small shapes; lines and curved lines; dark shapes and light shapes etc.


  • Create a push and pull of shapes that overlap, some going behind and some in front. This creates visual depth which is something that I love.

  • Use confident marks. Being unsure shows!


  • Make the darks connect on at least three sides.





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