Saturday, March 22, 2014

Art and Color

My favorite childhood book

Ever since I was a young child and was thrilled by repeated readings of Little Golden Book's The Color Kittens, I have been in love with the joy and meaning of color.  For me, color has always had an impact on my feelings and emotions, and I associate color with sensitivity.

Having been a creative person all my life, and a painter for more than 20 years, I feel as though I am beginning to understand the capability of art to nurture one's spirit.  As I developed my skills as an artist I instinctively knew that choosing and using color was, in fact, very supportive of my own well-being.

excavation, oil and mixed media

In recent years, as I've grown as an artist and developed my voice as an abstractionist, I've received many comments from people who felt moved by my work.  The most common thread has been that my art and my colors have a calming effect.

patience, oil and mixed media

repose, oil and mixed media

Because I do not paint recognizable subject matter, those that are drawn to my work often reflect on what they are sensing or feeling.  They may be unaware of what it is about a particular painting that draws them to it, and yet they spend time in reflecting on it, perhaps inducing a moment of contemplation in an otherwise busy life.  I think that the object of reflection begins with the viewer's reaction to the colors.

receptive, oil and mixed media

reverberation, oil and mixed media
I believe that not only does color convey emotion, but that combinations of colors, frequently complimentary colors, intensify the reaction.  My own intention is not set before I begin.  I don't paint a red painting to excite or a green painting to promote relaxation.  I do, however, explore the way colors dance together and create their own magic as they touch, combine, overlap and flow off the edges.  They are containers of sentiment, sparking conversations amongst themselves and they convey energy to me as I work with them.

cadence, oil

traces, oil and mixed media
The people who own my paintings have sometimes told me that they feel an expansion, or a new depth in their thoughts when contemplating my work.  My generous friend and fellow artist, Rosemary Starace, wrote that when someone bought a painting of mine that they owned much more than a beautiful decoration for their wall, but an eternal, gentle reminder of their own richness of being.

This is truly the power in color and how it can affect one's sense of aliveness.  If one reads the new research on the power of thoughts and emotions on cells, there is no doubt in my mind that viewing art that moves you to a peaceful internal space could only have a positive effect.