Saturday, January 5, 2013

color play

Four small (8" x 6") panels are developing together but as separate pieces, in part so that they are coherent with the rest of my work (I tend to wander off on tangents with individual small panels), in part so that I can try different techniques across similar compositions, and in part with the idea that they might end up for sale as a group. I am not forcing the latter idea, but I also am interested in the idea of series of paintings, and this seems a good opportunity to investigate it.

Working small is a welcome change from my recent struggles with larger boards, and is also educational: For example, perhaps one way to address a large board is by dividing it into smaller sections for detailed work. Also, it is less intimidating to experiment with techniques on a smaller piece; one has less invested, especially at the later stages.

I had conceived of a theme of the four seasons as a way to approach the quartet of panels, to differentiate among them while at the same time relating them to each other. As often happens with what seems like a good initial idea, the theme didn't take me far except in the area of color, since I differentiated among spring, summer, fall, and winter in terms of hue. In terms of marks and composition, my actions were fairly random, and I couldn't identify lines, shapes, or divisions that self-differentiated as seasonal.

This morning I explored color interaction among closely related hues. I was partly inspired by a 2013 wall calendar of Rothko's works that I recently hung on the studio wall. I knew that I was not yet at a final surface, which gave me freedom to play and to steal ideas from the calendar. My main purpose was to create four surfaces that reinforced the color ideas that I was developing for each "season". I also used the opportunity to experiment with creating deliberately shaped patches of color with deliberate edges, whether sharp and well-defined or blurred and fuzzy. The image above is the result for the "spring" panel, which I find particularly pleasing.

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