Cueillette des champigons – Interdite
Painting on location by Gordon Frickers, 50 x 40 cm (19¾” x 15¾”), £2000.00
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This painting made in the “Foret de Sivens” where picking of wild mushrooms is forbidden, was the first in an open ended series of experiments made in the Forest of Sivens (Foret de Sivens) with my normal [learned] colour vision deliberately disengaged.
While experimenting with painting trees I was already a successful recognised marine artist also attempting in various ways as part of a larger experiment to turn off my learned normal colour vision and see what resulted.
I had no idea how people would respond and expected the works to be disliked.
I have by any standard test a very unusual colour response.
To describe this sight as ‘colour blind’ is as my paintings revealed, an over simplification.
Most of us have heard of people who sometimes confuse red and green, but few realise the full implications of this so called anomalous colour vision.
Though depriving me of aspects of colour experience familiar to most of us, my complex and special way of seeing provides me with another range of visual excitements, certainly a rich colour experience to share with you.
As an adolescent I discovered the ‘defect’, serious enough to stop me from joining the navy or flying or even being an electrician.
It took many years and much application to learn first how to live with this and later how to exploit it as a gift.
The distinguished head of The Painting School of Montmiral, Francis Pratt said ; “This gives Gordon a highly individual way of seeing which provides him with colour excitements that are not available to the vast majority of artists. Gordon was unaware his complex colour vision, basically a red / green issue but with many ‘plug ins’, is a quality he shares with some of the great master painters of the past for examples, Monet and Degas”.
Francis added, “He has had to learn how to paint like a colour normal. He has also learnt how to ‘turn off’ his learned response“.
This remarkable painting was part of that voyage of discovery.
For me colour is a great deal more volatile and ephemeral than for most people.
It varies much more with the ever occurring changes in natural lighting conditions.
To pin down these shifting sands of appearance, I have to look with a special intensity, using parts of the visual apparatus which the other ninety percent of us rarely make use of.
Working with Francis Pratt, in particular I have become adept at exploiting my peripheral colour vision.
Working from Castelnau de Montmiral gave me time and opportunity to absorb local light and colour, to assess the most likely settings, get a feel for the aura and ambience of the diverse subject of colour.
Together with Francis we discovered that in practice I have a very rich colour response which he shares with us via his paintings and photography, “one of the distinctive features of Gordon’s work as an artist” ~ Francis Pratt.
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Gordon Frickers © 17.03.2003, updated 19.07.2020