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Posts Tagged ‘Jane Donaldson’

SquareCherryblossoms

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better…

See if you can apply our last discussion (https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/19/the-drama-of-concave-and-convex/) to this painting.

This painting is different in three important ways: The square format pushes you into thinking abstractly. There’s no hint of a horizon line. The color contrasts are more subtle.

If the pink squares were pink dots, the effect would be frivolous, even more so than the idea of red dots  in the last painting. They have to be square!  Btw, the squares were made with linoleum, in a printmaking technique.

Many painters think pink is a problem.  That depends upon how it’s used and next to what.  And in what shape!  Pink squares drifting here across orange and turquoise tickle your retina into bliss.

See an earlier vindication of pink: https://artamaze.wordpress.com/?s=pink

Painting by Jane Donaldson, 2015

Once again, the flip creates a different dynamic. In this case, a sense of balance and stasis.

SquareCherryblossomsFlip

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RedSquares

In this painting the red squares are in the foreground.  They appear to float on top of a background of various colors, where the blue mass reads as an integral shape and therefore dominates the other areas of this background.

At its right border (1), the blue is convex, meaning it curves outward, creating the feeling that it is pushing outward to the right. This dynamic is emphasized by the sliver of white (2) which is being worn thin by blue’s intrusion.  The white is concave. It’s a dart or arrow pointing to the right.

RedSquaresAnalysis

Stop, you may say at this point. This a colorful painting, I like it, that’s enough. You’re over-thinking this thing. These blotches of color are not going, pushing or invading anything.  They’re just sitting there.

True.  The PAINT is sitting there.  But the PAINTING is not a physical object; it’s an event in the mind.  The power of abstraction is that even though there is no identifiable object depicted in an activity, the viewer of the painting will EXPERIENCE an activity.  A drama, really, full of tension, aggression, pushing and pulling…and resolution.

We perceive the red squares as floating on top of everything because they have clear edges that do not bleed into the background anywhere; plus, there’s a suggestion of a horizon line at (3).  The painting creates the illusion of spatial depth. It teases you into thinking “landscape.”

Since the red squares are not distributed evenly, we get the sensation that they are drifting from one side of the “landscape” to the other.  From left to right? Or from right to left? My sense is that they are blowing to the right.  Try it.

The drifting reds are not round. Imagine them as red dots and the painting becomes a circus.  Imagine them petal shaped and it becomes sentimental. No-no.  The reds have to be angular to add frisson.  Your mind likes edginess.  Keeps you alert and on your toes.

Why would anybody go to the trouble of analyzing a painting at this length, you may say.  Maybe somebody needs to get out more, has too much time on her hands.  Ha,ha. I’m merely taking the time to articulate what is going on in your mind when you’re standing in front of a painting that grabs you.  At museums I often hear one person say to her companion, I like that.  Well, I’m curious why.  Someone will look at a painting for a long time.  Why?  Well, I’m suggestion they’re swept up by the drama.  The drama is in the mind.

Painting by Jane Donaldson, ~30″ x 40″

Oh, and by the way, if you flip  the painting, the drama changes…errrm, dramatically.

RedSquaresFlip

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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Vortex

This painting travels up and down your spine and massages all of your brain. That’s the highest assessment I can give to any work of art. What does this painting embody?
VortexNumbersOrder + Chaos
Rationality + Emotion
Calculation + Spontaneity
The Golden Section
The Enso
Color + black/white
Notice the literal references to calculation and geometry at 1,2,and 3. Very witty.
The enso and Japanese calligraphy can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPGIUk-24dk
Once you’re on that page, you’ll find other demos. One calligraphy artist says, calligraphy lives in the moment. Birth and death, all in one stroke. Powerful.
Painting by Jane Donaldson, 30”x 40”, acrylic on canvas.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
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Section
Sometimes a painting doesn’t work because it’s too complex. The artist may love the individual colors, while finding that they don’t hang together. Zooming IMG_5880in to a passage of the painting may lead to new inspiration. Here, on the right, is the original, troublesome painting, 30”x20”. By isolating the lower left corner and using it as a point of departure for a new, large painting, the artist saved the day and produced a fresh, dynamic painting. (See above)
Painting by Jane Donaldson, acrylic on canvas, 20” x 30”.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
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15January2
As soon as you see the letters you want to know what that text says. Notice, however, that you don’t get obsessive about it. There are two reasons for this. One, the letters are not clearly outlined and the surface of the letters is painted in a chaotic, gritty manner. Two, the other surfaces of the painting lead you away from the text area. The red lines pull you to the upper right. The white triangle functions like an arrow that directs your attention to the right. The result is that your intellectual curiosity pulls you to the letters and at the same time you’re visually engaged by everything else. You find yourself moving through this painting, wondering how it works on your mind. Good thing.
It’s quite an accomplishment to have text in a painting without having it dominate the viewer’s attention.
Painting by Jane Donaldson, acrylic on canvas, 30” x 20”.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
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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
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
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http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com
http://www.katherinehilden.com
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