Magical Colors By Tim Hale

Magical Colors
By Tim Hale

A famous writer one day was looking close-up at a friend’s painting and said,
“I wish I had the same word for that color you just mixed!”

I remember when I first read that and how it hit straight home. I had never thought how colors could be so magical. There is no end to what colors can do and what you can do with them. Now that says a lot for art. But it is true. Art does have another freedom. You can associate one color with any other color when you think about it and the possibilities of what an artist can do on a blank canvas are endless.
Portrait of a Young Man. © Tim HALE. Charcoal on Paper. 75x55cm. 2015

Portrait of a Young Man. © Tim HALE.
Charcoal on Paper. 75x55cm. 2015

But that blank canvas can be daunting and the inspiration, or whatever you wish to call it, can sometimes vanish and it does not just lie there on the nearest shelf. It can happen to anybody. Another famous writer, Ernest Hemingway I think, who often had the ‘writer’s block’, conceded ‘you just have to start banging away at that typewriter’ until the mysterious ‘it’ comes along. I have found this to be very true. My paintings are not always planned. In fact the paintings I never prepared for are the ones I enjoyed doing the most.
I think being an only child and having parents who were interested in art helped me to want to become an artist. As a kid and often alone I had to learn to enjoy my own company and I remember spending hours drawing and painting.

Blue On Blue. © Tim HALE. Oil on Canvas. 100x100cm. 2016 (2)

Blue On Blue. © Tim HALE. Oil on Canvas. 100x100cm. 2016

It was more than a hobby. There was nothing more natural to me than holding a pencil or a brush in my hand and spending precious time drawing spaceships of the future or imaginary landscapes. Then in my teens I just took the art thing further and instead of going to a formal university I chose to pass my exams to go to art school.
I do not think my parents were disappointed. They could see that I was at my happiest when involved in art and studying art history and they always supported me on this.
And then art school.
I loved the atmosphere and camaraderie of studying with other people who were in to art too. But I was surprised to see so many of them go straight in to abstract art. Guys in their twenties were doing copies all day long of Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko. I did not want that at that time. I wanted to learn more about proportions and to better understand the human form, to learn techniques in painting, mixing colors and painting from life. I wanted that journey of discovery, of learning perhaps the hard way but learning honestly and with conviction. The American artist Tim Kerr once said “Do you skate or are you just wearing those shoes?” Yes in art it can be easy, even too easy, to sometimes ‘pretend’. But there is no point in pretending. It gets you nowhere. An artist just has to get his hands dirty and find what he has to find. It can definitely be hit and miss but those discoveries and mistakes are all part of the learning process of becoming a stronger and more confident artist. And only after years of purely figurative painting have I gradually moved on to a more abstract approach where I find it easier to express myself and to create a certain atmosphere in my work.
I have always been interested in the Florentine School of the Renaissance. Botticelli’s Primavera, or Allegory of Spring, and Uccello’s The Battle of San Romano are two great classical works that come to mind. They represent two allegorical or historical scenes set in some luxuriant setting where Nature seems to be the overriding factor. Moving figures become part of a strange rich landscape where dark trees and leaves, fruit and flowers all mix in to one. And I like this idea of mixing colors with emotions. Taking oneself and the spectator through a gloomy yet sometimes colorful journey, a twilight world where it seems anything can happen.
So painting, for me, has to be a celebration. It can be hard work. It does not always work out right but when it does it can be a great way of connecting people, like during private views in galleries. I like listening to different opinions on works of art. Why does someone like this painting and not that one? Why does this drawing do something to someone but not that one? What, may you ask, is taste? In France, where I live and work, there is a well-known expression “les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas” which means something like “one should not question other people’s tastes.” Which in some way is probably right but there is no harm in talking about them and explaining one’s preferences.
Whatever happens, painting, for me, is a mode of expression and an artist must always try and find ways of expressing himself. If it pleases the eye all well and good but the artist has to just get on with it and, most importantly, be honest with himself.
Tim Hale is an international artist and writer who lives and works in the south of France. He graduated from Saint Martin’s School of Art & Design and has had solo and group shows in Bordeaux, Saint-Émilion, London and Nice, where he won the Academy Prize for Painting and Sculpture. Hale has paintings and drawings in private collections in the USA, the UK, Canada and France.

Read the full article on Art Market Magazine Issue #23

Blue Wood. © Tim HALE. Acrylic on Canvas. 100x100cm. 2016 (1)

Blue On Blue. © Tim HALE. Oil on Canvas. 100x100cm. 2016

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