Posts Tagged ‘Blue’

Blue II- Joan Miro


The picture should be fecund. It must bring a world to birth.

-Joan Miro


This is a thought that I often keep in mind. Art succeeds when it creates its own reality, when it brings a world to birth in the mind of those who behold it. The artist’s own belief in the reality of that new world is a large determinant in whether this birth takes place.

For myself, I almost always feel like I am taken to a different world, one as real as the world I inhabit in my human skin, by whatever is on the surface before me.

That is, when it works. Sometimes it is difficult to climb into that new world and that new reality that wants to be born on the surface is nothing more than a lifeless mishmash of paint blotches and lines. That is frustrating, to say the least.

But when it works, it is an easy glide into that new world with its own atmosphere and landscape, so familiar yet new and fresh in the nose and to the eye. It’s a thrill just to be in there for that time when taking on its lifeform.

Joan Miro (1893-1983) did such a thing with such ease. I am showing his Blue triptych today. I find it interesting how intimate and alive they feel as single images on a screen where their scale fades away. These could easily be small paintings. But when you see them as they are in the two photos below, you can see their size and how it magnifies their lifeforce.

They are a world unto themselves.

Take a look for yourself. I have also included a video of Dave Brubeck’s Bluette below that is played over a slideshow of Miro’s work.

Just good stuff.



Joan Miro Blue I

Joan Miro Blue III

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GC Myers- In a Blue Place

You cannot get a grip on blue.

Blue is the sky, the sea, a god’s eye, a devil’s tail, a birth, a strangulation, a virgin’s cloak, a monkey’s ass. It’s a butterfly, a bird, a spicy joke, the saddest song, the brightest day.

Blue is sly, slick, it slides into the room sideways, a slippery trickster.

This is a story about the color blue, and like blue, there’s nothing true about it. Blue is beauty, not truth. ‘True blue’ is a ruse, a rhyme; it’s there, then it’s not. Blue is a deeply sneaky color.      

― Christopher Moore, Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art


He’s right, blue is a deeply tricky color.

Even looking now at the new painting above on this screen, an 8″ by 8″ panel that I call In a Blue Place, I can’t be sure that it is the same blue that I  see when I look at the actual painting.  And that change of hue can alter the reality of the painting, the feeling that comes from it.

Each person sees blue in a different way, some absorbing the overall tone of it while others latch on to the subtler tones within it.  If I say blue the blue that might spring to your mind may be so much different than the one I am trying to describe that they might be entirely different colors.

As Moore says: How do you know, when you think blue — when you say blue — that you are talking about the same blue as anyone else?

It can mean and be so many different things. And maybe this multiplicity is the basis in the lure of blue for me.

Blue is also tricky to properly capture in an image.  A painting like this particular piece is a nightmare to edit for me with all of its varying blues and tones and darknesses.  I know that the image that you’re looking at is not the same one that I am looking at beside me at this moment.

The one on the screen took me about an hour of editing to get to the point where on the screen it is only a mile away from the original.  I like it on the screen now but it is still a pale facsimile to the real thing.  There are whole hues of blue that aren’t showing in this image above and I’m not sure if I will ever be able to proplerly capture them.

I like that elusiveness, that slippery quality that comes with blue.  Yes, it is a color filled with meaning and emotion but it doesn’t want to be contained. And that is the thrill of working with it.

And that I will continue to do.

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GC Myers- Blue Awakening  smThe deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural… The brighter it becomes, the more it loses its sound, until it turns into silent stillness and becomes white.

–Wassily Kandinsky


Certain colors always raise a strong visceral response from me.  I think my use of reds and yellows is evidence of this as is my affinity for the color blue, which I’ve discussed here.  Maybe Kandinsky hits the mark with his words: it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural.  

I know for myself those are feelings that often are driven forward when I work with the color blue.  There is often a contemplative feeling, one that wonders at the unknown, that infinite, that we seek, that comes with the color.  I see it in the painting at the top.

Called Blue Awakening, this 18″ by 24″ painting on panel has a simplified and almost naive appearance at first glance.  But the blue of the sky set against the pale whiteness of the moon changes the piece from a folksy vignette to one of meditative wonderment.  The Red Tree here takes on a glow that speaks of a new understanding or acceptance of its place and purpose in the universe.  It represents a true awakening of the spirit for me.

The interesting thing for me is that there is not a tremendous amount of blue in the painting.  There are a few tones throughout the lower landscaped  half of the painting and much of the sky are tones that move away from blue.  But the blue that is there commands the space, creating the overall feeling of the piece.  Such is the power of blue.

This painting is, of course, part of my solo show, Home+Land, which is now hanging at the West End Gallery and opens with a reception tomorrow evening from 5-7:30.  The show runs from July 17 until September 4, 2015 and there is a Gallery Talk  on Saturday, August 1.  More info on that in the next couple of weeks.

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I’ve written here before about how I find the color blue an intoxicant.  When my nose is to the canvas and it is all that I can see, it has a way of making me feel that it is the only color in my world.  It’s a very satisfying and mollifying effect and, if I am not wary, I can find myself using blue tints to the exclusion of all others.  Because of this wariness, I try to only sporadically break out the blues.  But even with this watchful effort, I find the addictive pull of the color very strong in some pieces.  This new painting is such a case.

Called Blue Dance of Dawn, it’s a 10″ by 30″ canvas that employs two of my familiar icons, the Red Tree and the the Red Roofs.  They, however,  feel secondary to the predominance of the color blue here.  They serve as warmer counterpoints to the coolness of the blue and signify awakening  to me in this scene.  But the feel of this piece is dictated by the calm harmony of the blues.

I find this piece very placid with that  kind of satisfying effect that one sometimes has in the best dreams, that feeling of total understanding and acceptance of the universe.  That wonderful feeling that fades so quickly once you open your eyes and realize that it was only a dream, the details suddenly fuzzing over.  Maybe that’s what this painting represents– that idealized version of the world in those dreams just before we are awakened to the reality of the moment. That fleeting feeling of grace, seemingly within grasp then gone.

Let me think that over…


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I’m in the final stages of finishing the  large canvas that I’ve been documenting here, spending a lot of time weighing the weight of the colors and forms and adding a bit here and there to bring it into balance.  It’s slow work and sometimes I have to just get away from it to clear my head.  I have spent this time working on finishing a few other paintings that have been in hanging in limbo for some time, in various stages of semi-completion.

One such piece is shown above, In the Early Morning, a 12″ by 36″ canvas that I started some time ago and just couldn’t get it past the initial stages of laying in the composition and several layers of color on the sky.  The color just wasn’t working for me on this piece and I wasn’t excited by where it seemed to be heading.  So I put it aside, thinking that eventually I might try again.  I usually do try again although there is one similarly sized canvas in my studio now that is about a year old and about which I seem to have enthusiasm.  That piece may just end up getting painted over if only to get it out of my sight and mind.

On the other hand, this painting survived its time in limbo and I find myself glad of it.  It felt, the more I looked at it, as though it needed a single color to bring it together thematically.  I initially thought of making it a nocturnal scene but could see that, while I wanted the color to be blue, I wanted it to be lighter.  It ended up being more of a dawn scene, a time to which I am attracted to naturally, both personally and in my work.

I don’t know what this piece is saying yet but it doesn’t matter to me now.  It has a placid feel and I find the blues soothing throughout this scene.  It’s beauty is enough for now– in the early morning.

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