Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Relishing The Colors Of India

One of the things I noticed between the three artists showing at the 2nd Story Gallery this month was how different our art was. One artist, who is East Indian, has an interesting pointillist style that uses small dots of color to create her images. The colors are brilliant but on white paper, generally smaller with a black frame, they don't have the color value of my own art, the crafts particularly. There are merely dots of bright color swallowed up by the white. The other artist is also talented, working on his BFA, but his pen and ink, oils or watercolors tend to be muted. A small jewel like oil of cherry tomatoes on a nearly black background pops out against his muted other selections. Is this because of his art training or his own choice? We, Americans in particular, are afraid of color.

In a slow moment, I told Kruti that I finally am ready to visit India. The colors that one sees around them there every day just about boggles the Western mind. "You must have a totally different color wheel than the west because, well, you would never see the colors I've seen in books and movies in Western Art of any kind."

Can you imagine a scene like this (image to the left) anywhere in the Western world? Even in Latin America, known for bright colors, there would never be a scene like this. We had a good laugh over my comment. However, I pointed out my "Birdhouse Village" basically violated the color wheel as I just couldn't get the combinations I liked so played with colors to get what I wanted. She noted that several of my choices are seen everyday in India. I felt proud!

Recently I had seen photos of a festival in India called THE FESTIVAL OF COLORS where everyone throws powder on everyone else. Believe it or not those colors wash off but wow! Have you ever seen such colors? So rich and vibrant soon to just be washed away? I don't think I want to get in the middle of this but I would love to record it and would have to ask, where can you get paints with these colors? How stable are the colors, the pigments? Obviously they have been doing this a long, long time.

She said because of the myriad cultures in India there is usually some kind of festival every single month and that color in one way or another plays a part in each and every one.

If you, like me get hung up on color or lack of them, a quick look at the images in Google about the festival or anything about color in India should satisfy most color junkies. You will find that colors we have been told to never use together can actually look pretty exciting next to each other. Just like Impressionism wasn't considered painting by the Salon, Impressionists violated the rules by merely observing what was around them inside and out. They discovered a very important lesson. Nature was far more inventive than man in its use of colors.

If you doubt what I'm saying, go for a walk. Look at the plants and trees and their use of color. Flowers that may look purple are usually comprised of far more colors and tones. A pink Hollyhock can be pink, rose, faint pink with a strong yellow center with deep reds or roses streaming out to each petal. In fact, it is stunning how much color is there in one flower. Again, if you are hung up, there is always images on Google. I'd say give India a try first!!!

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