“Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.” ~ Claude Monet
Someone was looking at my painting the other day and asked,
“Why is the tree purple?”
“I feel like most trees should be purple,” I replied, and I don’t really know why this is true.
Experimenting with color is part of the mystery and the magic of creating art for me. I realize that most trees are gray or brown, but in those grays and browns, I see shades of violet, and blue, and pink, or at least the light seems to suggest those colors to my mind.
I love color, and most of the artists I admire used color in creative ways. Monet used all kinds of unexpected colors: he painted orange haystacks, blue and orange cathedrals, and if you look at his series of Poplars, even purple trees. Mary Cassatt used blues and greens and violets in her flesh tones with beautiful effects. Picasso had his blue period–maybe this is my purple period.
It is fascinating to me to see the unique styles of various artists. I hope you can come out to the Portland Art and Heritage Fair this Saturday to see the many different interpretations of the the theme, “Life on the River.” Mine will be the oil pastel painting of the river with the purple trees.
Maybe I should destroy my art work if I don’t like it. I heard that Picasso slashed some of his paintings into shreds with his palette knife because they didn’t measure up to his standards for himself (1).
I’m not quite as intense as Picasso, but I’m also not quite as relaxed as Andy Warhol, though I aspire to be. He’s what he said:
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art” (2).
This month I am showing my art work in two different group exhibitions in Louisville, Kentucky, and it’s always inspiring to me to see the work of so many different artists.
Looking at all of the art work on display, I sometimes wonder how other artists choose what to submit for these invitational juried exhibitions. (Artists send photos of their work to the gallery and hope to be accepted into the show.)
I have three categories of work, at least. Work that I love, work I’m unsure about, and work that I don’t like. I have a closet full of such pieces, work that didn’t turn out so great, and you’ll never see it, unless maybe you’re one of my kids sorting my stuff after I die.
Sometimes, I know that a painting or a drawing is bad, and I won’t show it. Other times I have trouble being objective about my own work. At those times, I try to think like Warhol. Let everyone else decide if it’s good. While they are deciding, I’ll just keep making even more art.