Color Me Crazy
Happy November One and All!
It's been a bit of a wild ride for me this past month. I've been from Louisville to Ontario and back within the month of October, and spent a lot of that time battling bronchitis: my least favorite type of "minor" infection.
Good News! I was finally able to finish my large landscape. I've found that most of my work, especially oil on canvas, tends to be very high chroma; it's not something I ever intend to do. In my mind I paint like I'm an old Dutch master, such as Vermeer or Van Eyck, using subtle changes in hue and use of light to create images that are controlled and relaxed.
However, despite trying to paint this way...my work never turns out looking even remotely like these guys' stuff. I remember my art history professor talking about historical painters and how you could identify most novice/self-taught painters by their outright overuse bright colors. He referenced Rousseau as an example.
I specifically remember this lesson because I could and can still see the bright color "problem," in my work. I fear I'm unable to see the subtleties I both want and need to see in my work while I'm painting. For example, this landscape I just finished is full of bright pinks and oranges and blues. It's like I couldn't decide which area to emphasize, so I just pushed everything to it's limit.
Sometimes I fear that I'm losing my gift. Maybe I'm not painting enough. Maybe I've just grown lazy. Or...maybe I simply need to embrace my own natural inclination to paint the way I paint, without worrying about what one art history professor believes.
One person who's palette I always enjoy is local artist, Nathan Foxton's work. I probably annoy this guy. Every time I see his work at the Harrison Center or around town, I get really excited about it. He's got a unique eye, and it seems like he does high-chroma really well.
It encourages me to see artists play with color so freely, but end up with such a concrete believable product.
There are other local artist's who's work I enjoy. In fact, I may just make another blog post specifically about different local artists who's work I admire and and why.
I honestly can't complain about my own landscape; there is so much I love about it. I love atmosphere it creates. I love that it has some movement to it; you really get the feeling that you're moving very quickly through the scene. Even as a person, standing in front of the canvas, knowing you can look at it for as long as you'd like, the painting still creates a sense of urgency. The perceived movement of the foreground gives you the sensation that you're are about to miss it. I enjoy how much the composition pulls the viewer into a sensation.
I only wish...I could make that what I'd intended originally (does that make sense?) I wonder if I tried to start painting like Kandinsky or one of the other Expressionists, that I'd actually end up with a neutral, chilled out palette of raw umbers and burnt siennas. The best laid plans of mice and men...
So, I'm going to do that thing I do when I feel like I'm going off the rails on palette experimentation. I'm going to do another limited palette painting, where I only use a few colors. AND I'm going to start it this week. AND I promise you, dear reader, I will post another blog by this time next Sunday. Those are big claims, coming from me, I know.
Angela M. DeCamp
Angela DeCamp is an Indianapolis based artist. who enjoys the finer things in life: black coffee, carnival tickets, the sound high heels make when they clickty-clack on the sidewalk.