Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Blank Slate

I am a cheapskate. I am always checking out the sales and bargains at the local hobby stores for the crafts and birdhouses I paint. Here in Southern California that generally means Michael's as most of the small independents are gone now and while we have JoAnn's Fabrics they really don't have their heart in crafting.

Digging through my stash of all those "sale" items, I decided that I better get going if I wanted to do some Easter or spring items and amazingly got two tulip shaped shelves pretty much done in an evening. I had looked at them though a day or two before trying to decide what I should do. While this is the back, you have a pretty good idea that while they had a cutout of tulips, they were indeed "a blank slate." They offered a wide range of possibilities.

When an artist creates something, it really is a form of design, a way of seeing something in the void that no one else sees. Those of you reading this that are artists know exactly what I mean. For others, it is simply a blank slate, be it a blank decoration, a canvas, pieces that will create a quilt, notes on a page, no words on the screen of a computer. There is nothing there. It can be intimidating. Read the biography's of many great artists of all media, they knew it could be too. Talk to any artist; they will admit to those "empty" times.

Never let it said that I am afraid of color. Actually I was at the start. It was easy to let things be a palette of darks or of lights, but to use bright and brilliant colors? Not often. As you can see here, those timid days are gone now.

As I noted in earlier blogs, the world is awash in color. I applaud our neighbors south of the border for their un-fearing use of color. In fact, I look carefully at the Mexican crafts for sale on Oliveira Street, the original center of Los Angeles whenever we go there. Here colors us Northerners would never put together seem to coexist with a wild abandon.

It wasn't always that way. I remember visiting what is now the Getty Villa the week it opened in 1976. The critics were harsh and unrelenting with it and it's adornment. Ancient Roman and Greek villas and monumental buildings were supposed to be a severe white or at the worst the color of the stone or muted stucco that was used in its construction. Of course those who knew better finally came to the museums defense and stated that the Romans were anything but cold and severe in their use of color. EVERYTHING was painted. After 2,000 years it had all faded away. (If you want to see original colors, go to Egypt! Their colors are often 4-5,000 years old but they weren't timid either)! The original villa was buried in lava in 79 A.D. but the parts that can be seen are colorful, probably far beyond what we would consider acceptable today.

As I am discovering with my second cactus painting, there is color in the simplest and most boring of objects. Often we just don't see it. This shelf was a wonderful experiment with color. Its sister is a bit different and looks a slightly different as well. Check them out on my Etsy store (krugstudio.etsy.com) and see what you think. In any event, smaller items like this are wonderful additions to home decor. Not too big to overpower, they give a splash of color and can often make us smile because even on a gloomy day, they are sunny.

Don't be afraid to use color. You do at Christmas so who said you can't the rest of the year as well?


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