Sunday, February 23, 2014

The First Link of One Memorable Day (oil on canvas, 2014)

(Private Collection)
Over the past year-and-a-half, the focus of my work has been on subjective color or, for those of you that didn't go to art school, color choices that have little or nothing to do with the actual colors of the subject, but, instead, are chosen for their relationships with each other within the context of the painting and, also, to evoke a certain emotional response in the viewer. As a result, I've spent a lot of time painting familiar subjects, but with completely different color combinations. This is the old potato house on the Wiley Road that I've drawn and painted more times than I care to think about over the past eight years (This composition is based on a drawing that I did just before the approach of sunset last June as the black flies tore the flesh off of my legs and face!).
I'm interested in finding color combinations that work together, that trigger some kind of emotional response, and (and this is sacrosanct) don't look like anything that I've ever seen before. I like to think of the color combinations as big jazz chords, with lots of extensions, overtones and compound intervals, where a particular combination of notes, using a certain hierarchy and within the context of the rest of the composition, can create a completely unique sound. So I try to find combinations like this, where one color may be dominant and other colors may harmonize with it whilst others create tensions. The triad of secondary colors - orange, green and violet - has always been a favorite of mine and I find that by adjusting the tonality of each color (i.e. an orange can be closer to yellow or red and can be pure and saturated or dull and muted), there is an infinite wealth of possibilities within a seemingly limited range of colors. I like how the salmon-ish orange color works with the various greens and muted violets in this painting and creates a warmth and feeling of nostalgia, in a primarily abstract way that has very little to do with what the actual barn looks like.

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