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Saturday, November 28, 2009
  thoughts on color

I've been experimenting with greater color interaction within my panels and came up with this small panel the other day. While the lower part of the painting seems comfortably earthy to me, the upper part has a range of color--blue, green, orange and even a touch of red. There is a palpable difficulty for me in pushing towards more color variety, but while my overwhelming urge was to edit out about half of these colors, I made myself back off. I'll keep this around to study for awhile, and see if it leads me anywhere I want to go. A few other recent paintings have also veered in this direction, so I feel that there may well be some new color ideas growing in my work.

The last time that I was comfortable with using a variety of colors together in one painting was back in my landscape days, about ten years ago. The subject matter in those paintings called for a palette of everything found in nature--blue sky, green foliage, and other splashes of color in the landscape.

My attraction toward monochromatic color came on as I moved toward greater abstraction in my work, though initially the colors were often quite bright--not terribly subtle. At this point, though, I've refined and developed the use of closely related colors in each panel--or in juxtaposed panels--for years, and these color fields have grown increasingly rich and complex. I love the way they look, and I'm not pushing for radical change (I believe that true and sincere change usually evolves over time) but there comes a point when something you do well becomes habit. For me that causes an itch that I have to scratch, a growing need to break out in however small or subtle a way.
 
Comments:
I am going in the opposite direction, Rebecca. I'm trying to cut back on the number of colors or intensity of the colors I use in favor of a subtler, more monochromatic look. This change for me seems to be an evolving one but a direction I'm keeping in mind as I reach for more color when making a painting. It's always that question of balance, isn't it?
 
I LOVE this one, Rebecca. I, too, used to use more color and slowly my palette (using the same colors) became more neutral and sophisticated. I've been re-introducing that color again.
 
Rebecca, Your explorations are fascinating, so no matter where they lead you, please keep sharing with us.
I'm enjoying your journey immensely.
 
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       Rebecca Crowell