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Posts Tagged ‘Blue’

17febbluedrip

This is a small painting, buy our class standards, ~20” x 20”.   Not only that, but the composition is rectilinear, which conveys stability. But it packs a punch, doesn’t it!

Notice that it was painted in more than one orientation.  You can see that those horizontal lines at upper left are drips that happened when the canvas was standing on what is now the right side.  And notice that the white does not look like unpainted canvas. It’s the white that makes the blue & yellow-orange so luminous.

Veronica Sax, acrylic on canvas, 20” x 20”

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17feb1redyelbl

Blue is theoretically a color that recedes.  Red, of course, comes forward and announces itself as the boss.

In this painting, how does that little sliver of blue on the left manage to hold its own against that huge red in this painting? One, it’s striped and stripes are aggressive. (Look at sports and military uniform: stripes rule.)  Two, it’s at the edge of the painting and edges convey tension. (Tension demands attention because, well, because tension is uncomfortable.)

Painting in acrylic by Susan Bennett, 36” x 36”.

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BubbleWrapYellowRip
Well, we don’t know. Is the Yellow on top of the Black? Or was the Yellow there first and then the Black invaded, covering most of the canvas and leaving some Yellow? Enter into the painting, let it fool you, one way, then the next. There’s no solution and that fact is the source of pleasure.
The other surfaces are clear, either on top or on the bottom. The Blue is on top of the Red and the white dots (printed with bubble wrap) are on top, in fact topmost. And all of these are on top of Black.
Whether you notice the Yellow-Black puzzle first or you look at the Blue-Red-White issues first, you immediately get the point: what’s-on- top is the game here. Some of this game will let you win, but the Yellow-Black part will leave you dangling and that’s your reward.

Painting in acrylic, about 24×24, by Maria Palacios.
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PinkBlack
An abstract painting should knock you out, leave you speechless, with only the compulsion to keep looking at it.
Here’s such a painting. I just want to look at it.
Ok, I’m expected to chat a bit here. Well, it’s pink, to start with. The color pink has endured some bad press, being associated with weakness, daintiness, feebleness, passivity. I remember reading (some years ago) that blue used to be the color for little girls and for boys the recommended color was actually pink because it was considered stronger, being derived from red. I looked it up just now and found this:
“…a 1918 trade catalog for children’s clothing recommended blue for girls. The reasoning at the time was that it’s a “much more delicate and dainty tone.” Pink was recommended for boys “because it’s a stronger and more passionate color, and because it’s actually derived from red.” See
http://www.npr.org/2014/04/01/297159948/girls-are-taught-to-think-pink-but-that-wasnt-always-so
Color suffers all sorts of cultural categorizations, honors and humiliations. We’ve talked about that before on this blog. But pink really gets the treatment in our time. Pink, eeaouh! I, for one, think pink is powerful stuff but I’m always aware that the vernacular consensus is against me.
Then, the black calligraphic lines on top of the pink. Where the pink says “dainty” (at least in the vernacular), the black lines say “assertion.” The black lines are painted with great insouciance and assurance. This “so-what” carelessness is shocking and fitting at the same time.
There’s a tiny speck of yellow on the circles, adding a maddening little focus. Look!

Painting by Cassandra Buccellato, oil on canvas, 36 x 36
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15JanuaryBigBlueFinal
Here’s a painting where every part is on first. By that I mean, every part is important and interesting. Nothing is “just” background. This is counter-intuitive and that’s precisely what makes this painting so wonderful to contemplate.
15JanuaryBigBlueFinalNumbersThe large blue trapezoid (#1) appears to be on top of everything. But blue is a receding color.
Red (#2) is a forward color but it’s placed in the second tier.
The confetti strip on the top (#3) is spatially behind everything, but it jumps out at you because of its texture.
At the bottom (#4) we have what looks like a continuation of #2 and that further emphasizes the frontality of big blue (#1).
This painting presents a conundrum and there’s no solution. Try not to look at this. Good luck.
Painting by Jane Donaldson, acrylic on canvas, 30×40. 2015
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CassyBlue
This painting started with dripping paint, not with any plans to create a landscape. But the line where the blue stops suggests a horizon and then with that reference, the drips can be interpreted as a row of receding trees. The dash of orange suggested itself because as the complementary color to blue, it would heighten the intensity of the blue. So, yes, it can be seen as a landscape with mountains, trees and possibly a sunrise. And it’s paint. Paint! It’s both. But because your mind can’t focus on both at the same time, it goes into overdrive and that gives you a high. That’s the high of modernism. Aren’t we lucky!!
Painting by Cassandra Buccellato, oil on canvas, 36×36.
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The class is called “Impressions of Landscape.”   In late spring, all summer and early fall, when the weather invites, we hold class outside.  In winter we work either from collages or from photos and always with a big dollop of imagination.

Danielle G. brought in this photo to work from,  a magazine clipping.  She worked in oil and started by mixing blues, partly on her palette but also directly on the canvas. (16 x 20, about)  When the blues and violets created the mood suggested by the photo, she felt she was ready to add the trees.  But first we looked at the painting in this preliminary state from across the room.  It’s very important to do this, to stand way back so that you can see the work as it is in its present state,  instead of as a work in progress.  It turned out that in its present “preliminary” state the painting already had such atmospheric depth and feeling, that we responded to it as a finished work.  Whereas the photo presented a flat stretch of land with trees in the foreground, the painting suggested a view into a valley.  Trees in the foreground would have made no sense.  The painting took Danielle in a different direction, away from her photo.  This work is never about copying, and instead demands that the artist/student always respond to the painting as it develops.

À propos  de blue, in the late 50’s and early 60’s, a French artist named Yves Klein (1928-1962) painted large canvases with an even coat of blue paint.  He produced many such canvases and became famous for them.  So famous, that the blue he used came to be called Yves Klein Blue.  It was actually ultramarine and not mysterious or magical at all.  But at the time, an all blue canvas attracted notoriety at a time of daring experimentation among young artists.   Klein was a pioneer in the development of Performance art and a forerunner of Minimal art and Pop Art.

Danielle’s painting not only provided a teachable moment about Yves Klein, but it also reminded me of the mysterious landscape in Leonardo’s Mona Lisa.  For company, not bad at all.

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