Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Diversity of Color: part 3

"Storm cycle", watercolor.
Copyright Sara Light-Waller, 2014.

This week, as I continued to explore the use of color to create mood, I had a breakthrough. I realized that by using photographs as “absolute” reference, we limit ourselves to the moment when the photo was taken. This is potentially alright, if we took the photograph and if we’re lucky enough to remember the day, the mood, the weather, etc. But what if it’s someone else’s photo? What if your husband took it? Or your friend? Then you’re working with what you see in the image only. There’s no feeling beyond your response to the image. This is fine for as far as it goes but, as I understood in a flash, by introducing my own feelings into the piece, I moved beyond the photographic image and into something greater. Art? Yes, of course. But more than that. I brought forth a story to my viewers, a feeling memory.

Does this seem painfully obvious? It seems so to me now. But these “Ah-hah” moments strike like lightning and sometimes they set your hair on fire.

"Summer Storm" watercolor, 9" x 12"
Copyright Sara light-Waller, 2014
As with the other two entries in this series (Part 1 and Part 2), I used only two colors — this time, compliments Cadmium Red Medium and Phthalo Turquoise. As before, I used the same subject to experiment creating different moods through value scaling and color intensity. But this time I went further. I moved beyond the photograph and remembered the feeling of being in the desert during monsoon season. I heard the approaching thunder and blinked as the lightning popped like flash bulbs exploding behind the mountains.

These three paintings are memories of something that never happened at the site of the photograph, at least while I was there. But such storms do happen and I remember them well. It occurs to me that I could add one more painting to this series - the evening calm after the storm. That would be the next one to do. Perhaps some day. But for now I move through the storm and fall back into stillness, this time using words, not paint, here in my blog.

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