Thursday, February 26, 2009

Red Lyn Green

When I was at art college we were told never to paint paintings
featuring red and green together. "Those colours fight and they
don't work, and all you'll get is an eye popping mess," our teachers
said. But just down the hall in another studio class we were asked
to, "please create a series of paintings using just red and green. Those
colours create exciting examples of colour pop and will give you
dynamic artwork you'll treasure forever."

As students newly out of high school where all of the rules
were rigid (I was 16 when I started art college) we quickly
became consumed with humour and guilt knowing that
either someone was pulling our legs, or that both aesthetic
appraisals of these powerful Christmas colours were right,
or wrong, or....we should make our own rules. The more
chemically experimental among us discovered that this
combination of colours was even more exciting if enhanced
by a party atmosphere.

When I come across a drawing in red, or red and green
I remember that for a few years after I dropped out of art
college early, I did quite a few red and green drawings and
paintings. I still use bright colours, but I'd forgotten my art
school quandary until I found this drawing that I like of my
friend Lyn Green tonight, and wondered for a minute why
I'd drawn her in red.

Sketchbook drawing of Lyn Green
red marker on bond paper

Be careful what you tell people. Tomorrow I'll probably
go to school and contradict what another teacher has
taught my students the day before, even if we're all
trying to teach "from the same page."

Have an it's-fun-to-be-aesthetically-defiant day.


Laurel Daniel said...

Aesthetic defiance - I like that. There is an implication the aesthetic first known and understood and then defied... I am a big believer in knowing the rules so that you can break them intelligently. :)

Have a GREAT weekend!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

I agree with you. I guess I should talk about that tomorrow. Some -- not all -- of the people who teach the rules in art, in writing and probably many other fields are rigid and scared. This makes students scared of their own shadows. I am a very conventional painter I know. But no surprise there -- I was taught by many people who revered the Renaissance painters, and honestly believed that that aesthetic was the ideal. It isn't my ideal, but the very conservative art model is woven through my cells. That's why I'm so glad to see the way you use the abstract in the landscape. Bold, true, and new. Like it. No love your work.


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