Artist’s colour the­ory on can­vas

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By TALIA CARLISLE

For an artist, choos­ing the right colours for your art­work is cru­cial.

But what if you can’t see the colours you’re us­ing?

Pare­mata artist Alistair McDon­ald found out he was colour blind when he was 5.

He did not think he would make a ca­reer from art, so be­came a lawyer in­stead.

But he con­tin­ued paint­ing, draw­ing and sculpt­ing as an es­cape from his of­fice job.

‘‘Do­ing art was quite a good an­ti­dote to do­ing law,’’ McDon­ald said.

He strug­gles to tell green and red shades apart, but has de­vel­oped strate­gies for read­ing on/off but­tons, and dress­ing him­self with­out clash­ing – ‘‘ Never wear brown or green. You wear blue, black and white.’’

Traf­fic lights were also a chal­lenge, but other­wise he coped with colour blind­ness fine, he said.

‘‘ Ev­ery­body sees a dif­fer­ent rain­bow, so it doesn’t mat­ter.’’

Since re­tir­ing from his of­fice job he has taken up art full­time, fill­ing his house and work­shops with paint­ings, sculp­tures, draw­ings, car­toons and stained glass.

One of his paint­ings of an earthquake-stricken Welling­ton fea­tured on the cover of the Welling­ton tele­phone book in 2003/04.

Next week his first ex­hi­bi­tion opens.

Al­though he en­joyed the free­dom of paint­ing for him­self, there were ad­van­tages to hold­ing ex­hi­bi­tions, McDon­ald said.

‘‘I’ve got more than 100 [works] sit­ting in the back room.

‘‘It’s more to get the spare room back.’’

De­spite study­ing colour the­ory, McDon­ald uses a sim­ple strat­egy when choos­ing colours for his works.

‘‘A lot of it is in­tu­itive. I just think a colour might work and I can change it later [if it doesn’t].

‘‘I don’t know how you’re go­ing to see them.

‘‘I just work out if it works for me. If it works for you, it’s a bonus.’’

Photo: TALIA CARLISLE

Con­trasts, with pho­tog­ra­pher Tanya Win­tring­ham. Greenock House, 39 The Ter­race, July 1 till 4, 10am till 5pm.

Dif­fer­ent rain­bow:

Pare­mata artist Alistair McDon­ald uses a dif­fer­ent colour chart than other artists.

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