18 December, 2006

New Red Corner

It doesn't hurt to sometimes think about what we like in a certain painting.
I chose this work (it's seen at the top of the right column) as a beginning point for this blog on "Colorist Art".
By the way, if you are wondering what a "colorist" is, keep wondering. If you google it, there are typically two results: the lady at the hair salon who dyes hair, or the guy at Disney who paints the cartoon cells. Both cool professions.
In the rare instance when "colorist" is applied to an artist, it sometimes means one who has skill in using color.
I'm becoming aware of a very new definition for colorist, though. I'd like to think of it as using color as a subject, or motive for a painting. Not a tool in support of some illustrative or informational need, but an actual starting point for a painting. What if I take an intense field of red, and explore ways to promote that red? Can I make that overly warm red somehow push to the background, and yet still allow the scene to be believable? How will it come out; too passionate, or re-assuring?
Other artists are doing this, now. Wolf Kahn (google him) totally starts with a new tube of paint, and lets it guide him through a whole series of landscapes. You wind up enthralled by the interesting and pleasing colors, and only later wonder how a guy could make a landscape of a forest out of full intensity magenta, violet and green.
I finally got to see some of his original works in NYC this last June. I chose to look at about seven of his new pastels. The associates at this high-end gallery ( which sits at the center of the known art universe) where trying to conjecture that he was using oil pastel in this one, which is quite absurd...
Anyway, they were off-the-hook awesome. All scribbley and layered to the max. I loved them.
We will get into Kahn some more later. He is certainly the greatest living colorist, in the new sense.
My approach to the New Red Corner was to take a well balanced sketch that I made just down the road from my house, and stuff it with striking colors, good gestural strokes, and stop just short of over-working it.

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Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism