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Painting In The Dark

Rebecca Farr talks about how painting in the dark helped her not be seduced by color.

Artist Rebecca Farr discusses an intense apprenticeship she experienced in the Pacific Northwest where she and seven other artists did an exhaustive study of their craft from the ground up.  She describes the experience as a very technical, classical training, the likes of which are not available now.  The group would travel together to Europe and be trained in the rigors of En plein air painting.  They explored basic principles such as learning how to build paints – from carbon as the basis of black to making egg tempera paint.  They dove into concepts around brushes and studying how different brushes can be used on different media and experimenting extensively with the angle at which they held the brush.

She describes this experience, where she stayed in community with these artists for four years, as:

I waltzed, tumbled and skidded into it                                                                


She had an extensive Zen Buddhist meditation practice at the same time.  Rebecca has described meditation as a means to quiet her mind down enough to be able to access her creativity.

Breaking From the Seduction of Color by Painting Blind

A practice Rebecca shared was in doing figure model painting effectively in the dark.  The only light was on the figure and it was so dark “you really couldn’t even see your own palette”.  But in that environment, Rebecca talks about how something amazing happens:

And what that would do is you could in the dark see your temperature of your paints, but not really the hue. And something about that was incredibly effective at breaking you from the seduction of color. 

Rebecca goes on to share how you were just really honing in on temperature and the way temperature and the value of the viscosity could build these dense senses of figure and flesh and form.

Rebecca continues to rely on this technique in her practice today.

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