Thursday, July 7, 2011

Color Studies

With a firm grounding in Josef Albers theory, for many years I've expanded my understanding of color with painted studies.

The study above uses various yellows and reds, several with the same color name but from different brands. These have been painted over black stripes to show variations in transparency. Towards the top of the canvas, white has been mixed with each color. Towards the bottom, each color has been mixed with black.

My paintings have almost always been highly saturated. Recently, I've been attracted to more subtle hues, but find them a challenge.

The next two studies are investigations into these low key colors, attempts to combine tans and grays with bright colors. Perhaps my next study will eliminate the fully saturated hues completely.

One of my challenges will be to create an exciting, yet non-illusionistic space with these grayed tones. Another may be the elimination of the complimentary color combinations that I often use as a way of adding excitement and emotional content.

The stripes in the next canvas play with the contrast between flat and textured color areas, contrasts of light and dark values, and near compliments which aren't adjacent.

The balance of warm to cool is in an opposite proportion to my usual one, which would be mostly cool to a lesser amount of warm.

I've also tried to include some colors that I normally find unpleasant, using a balance in the amount of each color and adjacent value relationships to make the colors integral to the whole.

Following the stripe painting is an entire canvas painted with transparencies, glazes of color layered one on the other.

First, horizontal stripes were painted, about 3/4 inch apart. Then more substantial (in the amount of pigment) stripes were painted, 3/4 inch apart, vertically.

The white spaces between the overlapping stripes were painted black, to increase the illusion of transparency. I was surprised at the intensity and drama of the "stained glass"effect.

My original intention of understanding the colors created by the overlapping transparencies offered me some pleasant surprises too.

In the last image, shown below, hard and soft edges and seemingly random color selections create interesting spatial relationships.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Tea Wrappers and Painting

A rather abstract waterscape seemed compositionally complete, but totally unsatisfying. It said nothing that I wanted to communicate, nothing unique to me. So it sat in my studio, face to the wall, waiting.

Simultaneously, I was working on some collages, and also spending some time on acrylic color studies about transparency and space. My friend Denise had recently visited, and she had purchased a collage called "Tea Party". I had also been collecting the wrappers from tea bags, intrigued by their colors.

My friend Bill had commented during another studio visit that the painting shamefully facing the wall needed a geometric element, and voila! I knew the solution.

My 24" X 60" painting, with a collaged grid of superimposed tea bag wrappers, can be seen to the right.Weird spacial connections occurred at the junction of organic and geometric images with colors appearing and disappearing depending on their similarity or difference to what was behind or adjacent. I suppose other connections could be made to the friends who donated their tea bags, or to the ritual cup of tea my husband and I have each evening. My life outer and inner lives colliding.

Two More Weeks/ Cabbage

OK, I promise to only write about this again when the cabbages are ready for harvest, but I feel as if I'm watching Jack's (from the beanstalk) garden grow. When will the giant show up? These gorgeous leaves, which belong to the most mundane of vegetables, compel me to check in several times a day, and seem to have grown each time I visit.

When painting foliage in the past, I have often remarked that it seemed much easier to paint plants than to grow them. I'm re-thinking my position, with the possible exception of okra.