Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vibrant paintings with light background

(Painting by Jens Ole Olsen - not available)

It's so obvious from my purchases (I mean, wish list) arrayed in the jpeg I posted yesterday that I like bright colors and/or light backgrounds. I have viewed many still lifes and other compositions with darker backgrounds/settings/bases and a part of me felt repelled.

There's an Asian-born artist on Daily Painters whose technique I admire but whose gallery has mostly black/dark-gray/dark-brown backgrounds for his otherwise appealing still lifes. Recently he branched out and did a mini still life with a red-orange background and while I had to agree with the comments on his blog that his technique on this one needed a few tweaks (the fruit was not "anchored" to the plate - that took me a while to get but now I do, the kiwi pieces were floating in space because the shadow/border line was not there), I was very tempted to buy it for the colors and probably also to reward him for going brighter!

Several days ago I went through the DP gallery of a Copenhagen artist who does especially interesting still lifes (dark and water-y but I somehow like them anyway) and I emailed him to ask about an older painting he had done, of a tri-colored marble on a shiny black surface, against a black background. Yes, it was dark and moody, but somehow colorful too. I was trying to challenge my general acquisition taste and thought this might be a good breakthrough piece. However, I admit I was a little relieved when he replied that the painting had been sold long ago - although two other people had since inquired about it, and they would get priority if he painted another one. (Well dude, maybe you should mark the thing SOLD online?, just a suggestion...)

Of course every Sarah post is enriched, deepened, by a childhood reference...or two. I have always been fascinated by Uncle Harvey's photo scrapbooks of the 1967 tour of Europe he gave his parents, but I couldn't handle certain photos - of celestial (?) European masterpieces, usually behind church alters, of angels and saints floating into vast cloudy space. Something about the dimensionality, the infinity, just terrified me. In a way this is not so different from my fear of dark backgrounds, which to me also are cloudy and bottomless, with backless depths...

And here's one more childhood reference - my parents seldom went out without children at night, but I remember one occasion with a babysitter, a distant relative of my dad's, who got witchy at lights-out time. I don't know what this woman's problem was...I agreed to go to sleep on schedule but asked if we could leave my bedroom lamp on, something Mother allowed. (It was a Little Bo Peep lamp with a dotted-swiss lampshade...later recovered with pink and orange sticky paper, which looked no better.) No - Cousin Witch, for whatever weird reason, said my room must have total darkness only. Then I was so full of righteous indignation I couldn't sleep anyway! Who made her president... Actually after being my babysitter she went on to have a long career with the Post Office - natural selection!

40-something years later, I fight with Craig about leaving lamps on at night...but my art purchases are damn full of light! Energy and warm colors and LIGHT.

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