Composing with Color Pt. 1
Northwest Corner: City Stage
Acrylic on canvas
For each painting I made for this show I was
particularly aware of other colorists that have communicated something
important to me about using color in painting. Sometimes this is direct,
through an assertive encounter, but it can also be transmitted through a work
of art they've made. This first two essays return to the beginning of my
training in color and the voices that took part. The two paintings of mine that
I will be discussing, Northwest Corner: City Stage and Evening Roast connect to
the painting classes I took at the Delaware College of Art and Design.
For me, Catherine Drabkin broke the bounds in which I thought color is generally thought about. She taught us how to think and create like the Fauvists. When I look at her paintings I see other places, other versions of reality. I believe this is the case because of her command in choosing color from the very inception of the painting. Through her teaching I developed a sensitivity to color manipulation that is still evolving in my practice. It goes beyond a Fauvist idea which could be prescribed down to a palette, as a kind of design prompt. Catherine shared with us the paintings of Cezanne and how to spot and create our own passages through a painting that act as a kind of framework, a way of understanding how to move through a painting. As my first oil painting class, I became aware of how paint application- or the thick and thinness of paint can effect a quality of light.
I can't stress enough the active engagement
Catherine modeled to us about interacting with color. Some people are advocates
for the colors in their lives: as a particular statement in their fashion, or
as a kind of signifier to their material presence in the world. As a student of
Catherine, the process wasn't just what color to mix, but then how that color
beckoned to be used in the composition-I realized that constructing with color
caused you to mediate between an objective analysis of a motif and your
visceral reaction to the color idea being
implemented. Constructing an observational painting that has an
active engagement with color confronts the painter to form meaning
that is a synthesis of the intellect and desire; painting is not just
about making a picture of the world as it is, but presents something powerfully
different through shaping physical conditions of light and atmosphere in tandem
with composing the symbolic weight of color.
The Madame Walker Theatre is a historic landmark in Indianapolis reminding us of the city’s ethnically and artistically diverse past. Visiting the site renewed a conversation about moving forward and honoring the heritage of the city. Capturing the iconic structure and Indianapolis skyline in unison gave me an important emphasis to consider while setting the urban stage of my show. I believe this scene was important to capture in rich hues as a prompt to imagine the future of the city.