Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sometimes Ya Gotta Let Go

In a sense I'm between projects right now.  Oh, I'm trying to paint a landscape of Yosemite but it's barely started and it looks very tentative.  I have a unformed, almost crazy idea for a Christmas birdhouse with a Santa; it's barely realized. Pencil scratches on wood and paper.

Colors With A Purpose!
I'm finally getting in the mood for Christmas so in digging into my cache of after season purchases happened upon a bunch of wood Christmas ornaments. Painting them is mindless yet challenging. It's mindless in that the pattern is already there. You use it or not. The challenge is picking the colors I will use and the techniques I'll use to that make them uniquely my own.

A friend complicated me the other day on my use of color.  I was surprised he was that aware. He thought it was a wonderful gift and admired it. Others have said this over the years too.  Looking at the ornaments I was spending far too much time on for far too little value it dawned on me that these were my guinea pigs. It was here I played with colors that later would help me create my "Crazy Quilt Series," play with the abstract Birdhouses and even affect the colors I use in my paintings.

I can remember in my advertising layout class our director talked a lot about color listing the does and don'ts. One forbidden combo was green and red unless it was Christmas. He gave me a funny look as he explained this to the class. He knew I'd try to violate this and I did. I created an avocado green (a color all the rage in the 60's) and blood red women's dress layout. It was bold and stunning. In those days the type headlines had to be hand drawn as were the illustrations. I chose a vertical half page layout letting the colors fall down the page. My classmates gasped when I showed it. It got an "A." I wasn't sure if it was good or he gave me the grade for my audacity. I think it worked because I just let go.

If we are good students of nature, and all artists should be, Mother Nature uses colors in ways we often cannot capture but also in combinations we are often afraid to try. If anything I've learned that there are many more combinations that we are afraid to try than we would ever use.

Years ago when we were setting up a color palette for our new upstairs addition, we spent countless hours deciding on colors. My wife wanted forest green floral wallpaper and I wanted to continue the colors from downstairs, peaches, creams and pinks. We finally found the floral that picked up the new colors, used the peach and cream trim from the living room and found a rich coral for the carpet. In swatches it was perfect.

Because the upstairs had all kinds of angles due to dormers and such I ended up painting everything. We couldn't get a painter to even look. The painting took a month.  Next came the wallpaper guy who spent a day. Rushing home after work I ran upstairs and got immediately ill. It didn't work. The peach clashed with the green.  All I could think of was I would have to paint again and now the wallpaper and carpet arriving the next day would be in place. My mother-in-law came over the next day to oversee the carpet guys and rare for her called me at work. She was all bubbly and said she thought I'd be very happy. Coming home I was reluctant to see the damage but was stunned at the transformation. The darker coral toned down the peach, highlighted the flowers giving us both light on the north side and the green toning down the south facing side. It was perfect.

We can always use the tried and true. However, if you want to spice up even the simplest thing, sometimes ya just gotta let go!

Visit for real life lessons on letting go!

No comments:

Post a Comment