Color Field Painting

Color Field painting is a style of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s. It was inspired by European modernism and closely related to abstract expressionism. The movement places less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes, and action in favor of an overall consistency of form and process. If you saw my post last week, you know that I painted a rather intense orange painting. The style of the painting is called color field. This week after working with orange, I wanted to give my brain a new challenge and work in all grays. Although there may be forms or shapes that are recognizable to some people, all colors were made from mixtures of red, blue, and yellow plus white and black. The colors changed by adding more red in some areas, for example, and more blue in others. There are even touches or green made in the same manner.

Painting showing example of color field painting.
Days of Gray, acrylic on canvas, framed, 30 x 30 inches.

After spending some time on the painting, I think that all of the gray is a little monotonous and may need to be made a little more intense. I do, however, like to gray down my work. So let’s say that this painting is not finished. Suggestions are welcome. You may see it again if you are on my newsletter list. You won’t see it in another post because I have decided to give my blog a rest for a while. I want to concentrate on my newsletter which will go out monthly. I will be posting my new work on my website as I finish a piece and I always love comments. If you are not getting my newsletter, you can sign up by contacting me and leaving your email address. There will soon be a sign-up page on my website.

Thank you to all of my readers, especially those who continually took the time to share their comments.

How Many Variations of Orange Can I Mix?

I have just completed the second week in my abstract painting class. Last week I posted a painting done in many hues of green. One of the suggestions that the teacher makes is to challenge yourself and use colors, tools, marks, shapes and images that we have not used before.

For the last several months I have been painting Ireland which means that I used mostly greens and blues. They are cool paintings like the country—lot of grass and water everywhere.

So this week I did a painting with as many oranges as I could mix. I didn’t give a lot of thought of how to vary oranges, I just mixed tints: tones, and shades of orange with a touch of magenta thrown into different places on the painting. There is no way that I could have done an orange painting without somehow reducing the intensity of color.

Painting showing variations of orange.

The Language of the Sun, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30 x 3/4 inches. Ann Hart Marquis

Speaking of magenta, when it is mixed with cadmium yellow, an interesting warm orange develops. It is one of many interesting variations of orange.

Another objective on this painting was not to include a horizon line. Since I used a 30×30-inch canvas, I had a lot of canvas to cover with this interesting and challenging color.

Here is a link to an orange color chart that demonstrates the variations of orange that can be created. I am not sure where their names came from, but it is interesting to view.

I particularly liked Coquelicot, which is the French name for the red-orange flower that grows all over France. The color Cinereous is interesting also. So much to learn.

Of course, I then had to investigate the symbolic meaning of orange. “Orange aids in the assimilation of new ideas and frees the spirit of its limitations, giving us the freedom to be ourselves. At the same time it encourages self-respect and respect of others.

Orange is probably the most rejected and under-used color of our time. However, young people do respond well to it as it has a degree of youthful impulsiveness to it.”

Who knew! I thought

This week I think I will go with gray to try to calm down my impulsiveness.

Impasto Paint and My Big Palette Knife

If you read my post from last week, you know that I started taking an abstract painting class. Part of the class includes critique, so students can bring in pieces that they are working on for feedback from the teacher. Also, at the end of the class we all got together and critiqued each other’s work.

It was a very helpful process especially to be able to bring my work and say “what does this need.” Fortunately, the piece that was on my post last week got good feedback from the teacher.

She said it was almost finished and just need two swipes of thicker paint, almost like an impasto. I like to paint thickly especially with my palette knife. I am now trying a very large palette knife about 2 1/2 inches wide and 6 inches long. Needless to say, it can cover a lot of canvas.

She suggested that it be in the same color as what was already on the canvas. That was not too difficult a challenge except mixing paint to the exact color as I did several days previously, always takes patience.

Painting showing impasto paint

The Nature of Water and Air, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30 x 1.5 inches. Ann Hart Marquis

I also started a new painting in class that I almost completely painted over once I got home. I was trying to follow her discussion and suggestions without listening to how I wanted to paint.

Next week, I think that I can incorporate her suggestions and still stay true to myself.

Artist Critique Group

If you read my blog with any kind of regularity, you know that I sometimes think a painting is finished, live with it awhile and then decide that it has some kind of major problem. I have just come to the point on the painting below that it is time to just stop and take a long look at it before proceeding.

Ann Hart Marquis painting for artist critique group

Untitled- Ireland, acrylic on canvas, 24x30x1.5 inches. ©Ann Hart Marquis

Fortunately, next week I start an abstract painting class where I can work on what I want including getting feedback from the teacher Janet Bothne. If I feel stuck or think that I don’t know what to do next, I can get advice. So this class sounds perfect for me.

In addition, this class includes a critique time with the whole class where I can get or give feedback. I have been looking for an artist critique group for several years. I am excited about the idea that other people will be giving me opinions about my work.

I have friends who do not like to have their work critiqued. According to artist and blogger Sharon Hicks,Some artists cringe at the mere thought of having their work critiqued. The very word ‘critique’ is based on the word ‘criticism’, and in our culture that word has taken on a negative connotation, since to criticize something usually means to point out its faults.”

According to the dictionary, however, the word critic derives from the idea of someone who judges, evaluates, or analyzes literary or artistic works, dramatic or musical performances. To me this is a neutral statement. Ideally a critic can give both positive and negative responses. It relates to the idea of useful criticism.

For me, good and useful criticism  serves one purpose: to give the creator of the work more perspective and help them make their next set of choices. I like the idea of having a set of choices.

I am also open to critique right now. If anyone has ideas of where this painting needs to go next, I would be delighted to hear them.

History of a Painting: The Many Lives of One Canvas

I finished a painting this week that I have been working on for a while. It has had many lives. Here is some the history of a painting.

Ann Hart Marquis painting showing history of a painting.

All Legendary Obstacles, acrylic on canvas, 24x30x1.5 inches

As some of you know, I sometimes think that I am finished with a painting and feel comfortable about presenting it to the world, or whoever is looking at my work.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about a small study I did for a larger piece. I liked the way it looked and proceeded to start a somewhat large 24×30-inch canvas inspired by the small painting.

painting study showing the history of a painting

Ireland Study, acrylic on canvas, 8×10-inches.

I finished it and I thought it was interesting. I displayed it. I lived with it about two weeks and then I started to analyze why it was not making me happy. The problem was then glaring. What were all of the rose forms at the bottom of the painting and why did it look so stiff and out of sync with the series it belonged to?

Ann Hart Marquis Creativity and Travel

First Rose of Spring, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30 x 1.5 inches

I knew something was going to have to change in a big way—the bottom of the painting. I studied it again and decided that the middle of the painting had some interesting aspects and I liked the colors that I had used.

So what to do? Turn it upside down? That’s what I did. I added some yellow accents.  I then painted over the rose color which was at the top with a gray-blue. I didn’t like that and by now I had so much paint on that section of the canvas that the texture looked out of place.

I was not going to give up. I called on the assistance of an art lover who had much more arm muscle than me to sand down the top of the painting. He did a great job and now I had a smooth surface again.

Stage 4 after sanding

Stage 4 after sanding

Now what color to paint the sky? This time I choose a tint of Naples yellow and created a transparent glaze with a gloss medium. I painted the sky letting the gloss dry for a day before adding a second and third layer of paint. By then about five days had gone by.

A few days ago I decided the yellow in the middle made the painting too cool so I dragged some red oxide chalk over the yellow, wiped most of it off, and sealed it with gloss medium. Finished!

I have started on my next painting which looks like it goes with the series. I will see how it progresses.