August 9, 2017 – Focus on Value (Tone) and Design with Color as the strong foundation for a Playful Costume of Color.
The influence of color on our experience of a work of art is rooted by the grayscale value of the color and the temperature (warm or cool) more than is by the hue of the color. To tell a specific story; to express a specific, experience, emotion or mood, is where the manipulation of hue comes into play. Nothing is arbitrary. If the work, when converted to black and white, does not read as the Cliff Notes of a story, the story will not be understood or enhanced by the addition of color.
While in Paris last month, I worked on a series of carbon pencil drawings focusing on reflections in glass, mirrors and water. These are studies for larger works, most likely oil paintings. The subject is complex and requires far more critical decisions than I had expected. My goal is to present visual images that provide cues for a viewer to create a story of her own. Two questions looped through my head as I worked: Why did I choose this snapshot of my day to transform into a story? Am I creating a strong enough design that someone will notice the work and view it long enough to discover a personal story told by the images?
Why do we paint? Why do we draw? What is our personal experience of the art we create while we are creating it? When we can answer these questions, we are filled with the joy of creating and we open our hearts and minds to letting our unique inner artist tell her story, whatever that story might be. By letting our inner artist sing her own song, we share a part of ourselves that touches and inspires the hearts of others to do the same, to nurture the true self within. We are not so different from one another, we simply have different ways of expressing who we are. It’s a wonderful feeling to be so connected with absolutely everyone else while also contributing something unique to the group that no one else will duplicate. We each make the world a better place when we contribute our experiences with open hearts.
Since returning home I have been obsessed by creating dalas inspired by the crickets, moths and butterflies I saw at Grande Galerie de l’Évolution – Jardin des Plantes. I was hoping that the artists who follow me on the internet would be patient with my indulgence. The insects dalas are a refreshing and playful break from the challenges facing me in my Reflections series. Were I a fashion designer inspired by Christian Dior I would create an amazing line inspired by the patterns on the wings of these creatures, accented by the elegant lines of legs and antennae.
The response to the insect dalas has been shockingly wonderful. I believe the response is due to the strength of the designs. Stripping the image of hue, I have to depend solely on the values and shapes. Together, these elements create the design, a strong structure that grabs and holds the attention of the viewer. Often, the subject matter no longer is important. The design has delivered its punch, the thrill I experience when viewing these gorgeous creatures. I have successfully communicated the energy of my inspiration without it really being about insects at all. And, for me, life is all about exchanging energy!