Posts Tagged ‘color’

Heading Home for Good.jpg

I doubt there is any middle ground with Yupo paper.  One either loves it or hates it.  The “haters” are those artists who demand control of their paints, and always work with an unflappable agenda in mind.  These folks create beautiful works of abject realism, and often artists of palpable realism are highly trained and amazingly gifted—especially if they achieve high end realism in watercolors.  Everyone knows that chasing watercolors is a bit like herding cats.

I am neither highly trained nor amazingly gifted, and fortunately the art I love the most does not fall in the category of abject realism.  My favorite artists, the French Impressionists, Post Impressionists, Les Fauves, etc. who worked largely in oils were realistic to a degree, but always with an intensely personal voice.  For anything other than “personal voice” I would use a camera—and for me, that wouldn’t be half as much fun as getting out the Yupo and letting the paints fly hither and thither.

Last week my good friend and fellow artist, Vikki, and I shared an art day at our dining room table.  We began on Yupo.  My rendering was, for starters, terribly generic and dreadfully similar to stacks of other paintings I’ve done:  tree – space – tree – space;  leaves and blossoms on tree – space – etc; and plomp – plomp – plomp – ad nauseum.

Now I detest—and desire to always eschew—the plagiarizing of any thing or any person, including myself.  So that night I looked over this Yupo thingy, almost upchucked, sprayed it with my trusty water bottle, pressed plastic clingy food wrap onto the entire surface, and went to bed.

The next day I removed the cling film and VOILÀ!  Something I could further develop and live with:  the suggestion of a Viking ship* with sails, and lots of turbulence all over the place.  So much better than plomp – plomp – plomp!

I added delineation and definition via gouache to the vessel and its surrounding sky and water—leaving a plethora of confusion, color, and turbulence in the sails as if the depicted journey was, like many of life’s journeys, fraught with distractions, dead-ends, and disasters.

However I am always a positive-note person, so then I named the piece:  “Heading for Home the Last Time”—reflecting my blessed assurance in a glorious destination through it all, and eternal joy in the presence of my Lord Jesus.

Margaret L. Been, May 2017

*Because this painting is matted and framed to 12″ x 16″, it was too large to entirely fit in my scanner.  Thus the ends of the ship do not completely show on the print.  The original in its full size is more representative of an actual Viking ship.  Since my husband is descended from Vikings, and loves ships, I wanted to be somewhat realistic.  🙂


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C'est . . . .

As Joe and I, and our son Eric walked out of our Monday-night-$6.00-hamburger-restaurant, I scanned the crowded block searching for Eric’s car—and I finally gave up.  Where was Eric’s car?  The long chain of sedans looked all alike to me:  black and white and shades of grey.

“Why are they doing this to us?” I asked Eric who, as a car person, is far more interested in engines than color?  “That’s what the manufacturers think buyers want,” he replied.  And it dawned on me that, in some ways, we live in a comparatively colorless era.

It wasn’t always like that.  Born in the Great Depression, I nonetheless grew up surrounded by color—not only in my parents’ flower garden but in the clothes we wore.  THE WIZARD OF OZ sported a “horse of a different color”.  And Rhett Butler uttered his famous, blasphemous one-liner at the conclusion of a lengthy, super-colorful Hollywood spectacular.

Throughout the 1940s, color ruled*—both in fashion glitz and down home.  The 50s produced the most wonderful lime green, aqua blue, and gold refrigerators—along with a vibrant palette of everything else.  The 60s and 70s wore a lot of orange and gold, along with what I call “Hippie brown”—that mellow shade of soybean fields in late autumn.  And from 1950 at least through the 1970s, the cars were drop dead gorgeous—streamlined gorgeous, unlike many of the butt-ugly new boxes on the road today!

In the 90s all colors prevailed, with kind of a hokey emphasis on pink and blue in family restaurant décor along with geese or ducks parading on wallpaper borders.  But yes, color.  And in the 2000s, Joe and I lived in yet another colorful home in the ever-colorful Wisconsin north woods where even the 7 or 8 months of winter are brilliant with turquoise sky, lots of red dogwood branches, and bluish-purple shadows on snow.

So what is with these depressive car manufacturers?  Do their stats show that buyers really want black and white and shades of grey?  Or are the manufacturers simply watching too much news?

Even if the news were to blame, wouldn’t a large dose of stunning bright paint at least improve the quality of the moment for the driver and passengers in the car—not to mention those viewers surveying a parking area while trying to decide which car belongs to their son?

Meanwhile, throughout history art has come in every color imaginable—as well as in monotones and beautiful subdued tones.  But I don’t think you’ll ever find me painting black and white and shades of grey.  Oh, no!

*Color notwithstanding, in the 40s right up to now the long black velvet gown was and still is CLASSY!

Margaret L. Been — October 8, 2015

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