Archive for January 13th, 2012

 In a post from a few days ago and several times before, I have mentioned the stained glass windows that came from the studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany in the early part of the 20th century.  They have been a large influence on my work over the years, from their use of complex color harmonies to the way they are composed using simplified forms and strong lines which divide and define the panels.  I never try to imitate any one piece or even have them in mind when working, but I often find myself comparing my work, after it is completed, to them as far as color and composition are concerned.  Often, the paintings that satisfy me the most have an opalescent quality in their color with each color having elements of several colors combining to create a depth of harrmony in the piece, if done well enough.

The panel shown here is a good example.  It is a panel of magnolias that resides at the First Unitarian Congregational Church in Brooklyn, NY.  This is a little darker and contrasted than the image of this window that the church uses on an available  notecard but , for our purposes, this works well.  It shows distinctly the many colors that make up the distant sky– the multiple blues, yellows and pinks which combine masterfully.  In other hands, such a melange could come off as shrill and sharp.  Even cheesy.  But here it has a glowing harmony.

The beautiful silhouettes of the magnolias that cut the sky are graceful  and delicate yet powerful as they climb across the ocean of color behind.  The whites of the flowers are multi-colored with only hints of actual white.  The landscape that runs to the distanet has greens and blues and purples running through them as they provide a deep counterpoint that only enhances the depth of the sky.

Just beautiful.

So, when I mention the windows of Tiffany, you’ll hopefully have a better idea of what I mean.  We’re very lucky that Tiffany Studios was tremendously prolific and that many of these windows still are preserved for our viewing pleasure.  I am always enthralled when I come across one and never turn away feeling less than inspired.  It is that feeling that I hope most carries through in my own work.

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