Monday, May 23, 2011

content as adjective

It is easy enough to label things with adjectives, but how does one turn an adjective into a concrete thing, specifically, a painting?

I'm not posing a rhetorical question, I'm just trying to think through how to say, for example, "huge" in paint.  I know there are ways into this question, I have even heard about them in art and design workshops, articles, and books.  I need to make them my own, in my own way to catalog what colors, designs, and marks portray these adjectives to me.  Some marks will be universal; for example, a horizontal line is generally accepted to suggest rest or calm, a vertical line grandeur or loftiness, a diagonal line movement or tension. (Charlotte Jirousek of Cornell gives a nice introduction to the expressive qualities of line in her online textbook on design.)

Color may, in fact,be harder than marks to use in interpreting adjectives. Or maybe not: Cool colors are certainly calmer than warm.  Red can mean fire or chaos, in some cultures.  But beyond that, I can't really say.  I'll have to experiment, although I would guess that there are established resources that can also help, at least to get started.

I go back to Richard Diebenkorn and his work and the way he abstractly conveyed, for example, space in his Ocean Park series.  And he did use local color, to come extent (I can't see giving up my southwest palette).  He played a lot with division of space on his canvas, another area I should consider.

So it all comes back to design, color, and marks, but I am beginning to see them in a new way and to realize that it is time I tied them to my inner vision of what I want to express, that is, my intention, as embodied by the spiritual/emotional/perceptual qualities of what I perceive.

The image above is of a 6" x 18", approached with not much more intention that working with the unusual size and shape of the surface.

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