A Hot Mess of Hot Pink

Anybody like hot pink? Honestly, it’s never been a favorite of mine. I’m not a “girly” sort, have never been fond of any shade or tint of pink, and yet here I am with a hot mess of hot pink in my art studio.

How did this happen? And what, exactly, is this mess of pink?

Let me answer the second question first. Here’s a better look at what’s on my easel this morning: 5 manila index card dividers, ones I’ll be using for paintings 16 through 20 of my tonalist-inspired landscape painting project.

Now, obviously hot pink is not a color any tonalist ever used, at least none that I’m aware of. But I’ll be working with these hot pink gessoed index cards and it will definitely be fun to see what emerges.

So, how did it happen?

I’m a believer in serendipity. I like to go where the cosmos leads me. Although the whole concept of intuitive painting is still a bit beyond my grasp, I like to approach art with a sense of being guided in some way by some unseen hand, not so much in my drawing and painting itself as in the process. Sometimes I choose colors randomly. Sometimes I just “go with my gut” so to speak. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, I learn from the experience.

For my index card project, I start each painting with a gessoed surface. The first five landscapes were painted over white gesso. Then for the next five paintings, I used a golden yellow tone. The third series of cards used a pale blue gesso. And now, as I prepare for the next five, my plan was to use a warmer reddish gesso. I envisioned something earthier, a bit like a pale tint of transparent red oxide. Instead, I reached for an acrylic color that was close at hand. It has the delightful, childlike, girlish name of “Bubble Gum Pink”, and sure, I knew what I was getting into. But some playful spirit possessed me, encouraged me to “go for it, girl!” and watched in glee as I added Bubble Gum Pink to my white gesso.

I slapped it onto my index card dividers, all the while thinking, “What am I doing?” Of course, I knew what I was doing — creating little toned “canvases” that would be sure to make any real tonalist cringe. I could have stopped. But I didn’t.

I want to see what will happen as I begin using these cards for my landscape paintings. I want to play with colors that are outside the realm of tonalism. The project is all about inspiration, influence, and invention — taking what others have done and creating a work of my own, a work that shares some common elements but which also reflects who I am.

And right now, I’m a mess of hot pink! This is going to be fun, or at least, this is going to be interesting. Be watching!



  1. It’s only recently that I have come to appreciate hot pink. I was never a girly girl in any way and even now most pinks do nothing for me, but the depth of colour in a hot pink like this has its appeal now. I’ll be interested to see how it influences the feel of your landscapes.
    I’ve recently been watching Portrait Artist of the Year on UK tv (even though I’m not a particular fan of people pictures, it’s always fascinating watching artist at work) and there have been a few who have used quite striking colours as a tonal base layer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh… I’m not familiar with that program. I wonder if there are any episodes on YouTube! I’ve found several good shows there, like Forger’s Masterclass”. I’ll tell you straight up that working with the hot pink cards was interesting, and you’ll be seeing the results in upcoming posts. 🙂 Going forward, hot “bubble gum” pink will never be my first choice for toning canvases, but I will know how to use it to create certain effects.


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