Thursday, January 9, 2014

Americans And Color

Years ago, the first time we visited our Danish friends, they took us to the local mall in Odense. From the outside it looked kind of bunkerish, but inside it was a riot of color. And I mean COLOR! Walls in bright primary colors - yellow, red, green, blue! Your teeth would vibrate they were so bright! Looking around all but dazed our friends laughed and said that in Denmark you need to get people to buy so merchants use lots of color. He said most of the year is grey and dark so bright colors perk them up to buy things. Then looking at me he observed, "In the states they must calm you down with pastels so you will buy."

I have thought about that statement on an off over the years and after yet another trip to Norway and Denmark last summer, realized that is still true. American malls are swathed in pastel colors though with the influx of immigrants from other nations, I have noticed their shops use much more color. Panda Xpress while an American company of immigrants uses red and black, Hispanic stores are more colorful too. Going to Oliveria Street in Los Angeles, the tiny shops are literally a riot of color. I often take photos to remember combinations I would have never tried!

One of the most common comments on my Etsy store is about my use of color. People say they love them and to be honest, some of the brightest items seem to sell first. Not all, but many. When I was trying to adapt what became my CELESTIAL BIRDHOUSE, I knew that I wanted it to be colorful. A bright blue sky reduces to a lighter blue, a golden yellow sun with golden rays would be punctuated with my growing fascination with Zentangles. The colors had to be bright, cheerful yet had to work together to create a united whole.

This birdhouse, a 3 room "condo," came with a wire hanger. A friend, looking at it commented that the wire was ugly and didn't compliment the wonderful birdhouse. While the wire would be needed to hang it, I had to agree that it was indeed ugly. After all the work to create a unique birdhouse, that plain old wire was a blight on my work. I scrounged around and found some raffia my wife used for projects and wrapped it around the wire. Its soft tan color is the perfect foil and it looks now like the amazing birdhouse it is.

I have often wondered about our use of color. Even as bright as Impressionist paintings are compared to the dark and often murky salon paintings, few have the bright richness and intensity that Van Gogh and Gauguin had. There's a reason STARRY NIGHT is considered by many the finest painting ever made. Its deep and intense blues counterpointed by the rich yellows of the stars and moon resonate with us. The fellow expressionists that followed have never had the acclaim the masters of Impressionism had.

Today, when gallery looking in Palm Springs, Laguna Beach, Los Angeles and even Las Vegas, I notice that people tend to shy away from anything too bright. And yet, many artists use bright colors! Maybe we are just not comfortable with color or at least too much of it. That's why, in just about any home, you should set aside a place to add a color accent. I'm not saying paint a wall red, but use an accent that uses red or bright yellow or green. Just a splash of color can make an entire room come alive.

If you love color please visit my store, Each and every one is the perfect accent piece to compliment your good taste AND colors! If you see something you like but need another color way, email me. I can certainly give it a try!

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