“Color in a picture is like enthusiasm in life.”
The 16th of December will mark the three year anniversary of this newsletter-style blog which I named The Colorist. That turned out to be a good move, because for some reason that name has struck a chord, and The Colorist is widely read and many have chosen to link here over the years. Why do people read The Colorist? Partly to see my art, and partly to read the process essays that I write. Occasionally, some nugget of interest brings a reader in via the magic of Key Words.
Did you know that I, personally, am not "The Colorist?" I may paint colorist works, but the name of this blog was meant to describe a place to explore, report and essay on the central theme of colorist art. Of course, anything else that interests me makes it in here, too. I styled it as a newsletter, with a mish-mash of interesting content, all held together under the central theme of "why make this art?"
Am I any closer to that manifesto? I would say, in retrospect, that I have written, and you have very kindly read, a number of things that are descriptive of the artist's process. If that draws someone in to take a closer look at my artworks, then I guess the words have helped. I am told (and the artists in my audience will attest to this experience) that the longer someone looks at my paintings, the more they see. It is like entering a room, and then somehow one finds another hidden room, and then another one, and so on.
So what is a contemporary "colorist?" Did the high mark of overly colorful art end in the nineteen hundred and oughts with the Fauvists in France? My very good blogging friend, Adam Cope, (who does brilliantly colored paintings of the Dordogne region of France) observed this week to me that we all use brilliant color now, and the inference was kind of, "so what?" I couldn't agree more - so what? The market for art supplies is sick with brilliant pigments, and we are rich - filthy rich - with paint intensities. Is it like eating that candy corn in the fall, or that sugar cookie in the winter, and rediscovering why you don't eat them all year? They are soooo sweet! Too much!
Not a few of the artists I admire in the present day use subdued color religiously, and to wonderful effect. Art cannot be "all about color," as these artists prove. But, why do I persist? To be honest - and maybe you've noticed - for the first time this past year, browns made it into my palette.
I think my favorite artist, Wolf Kahn, has said it best. He indicates that there is a knack, or talent if you will, for bringing colors together, that either you have or you don't. Put another way, I would say that the way to failure with intense colors is broad, but the path to success is narrow. High key colors are like dynamite - useful if you know what you're doing.
For those of you who've been around the whole 3 years, reading TC, I thank you. There are others who've been fellow travelers for one or two years, and I am equally thankful for you. As luck would have it, there are also more new readers lately. Welcome, and I hope the next three years will profit you as much as these past three have done me.