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Color Vibration

Color which vibrates just like music, is able to attain what is most general and yet most elusive in nature.

– Paul Gauguin

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I came across this line that Gauguin had written in a letter to the poet Andre Fontainas and it reminded me of how I often compare painting to music, how I try to find that  rhythm, maybe the vibration to which Gauguin alludes, in my work that has the same effect on the viewer’s unconscious mind as does music. That thing that would make my work, like music, communicable across all boundaries. Something that would easily be absorbed as an emotional response without first having to dissect it intellectually, like music that you hear for the first time and react to without thinking, often finding it still vibrating in your mind for days and weeks afterward.

It’s a grand aspiration and I am never sure if I ever reach that goal. But I do keep hoping and trying.

I chose the painting above to illustrate this post because I like the simplicity and harmony of it. Titled Ever, it’s a 15″ by 18 ” piece on paper that is as much an abstraction, with its spare forms and lines, as it is a depiction of reality. My hope is that the color and harmony of this piece creates a vibration or rhythm that overcomes the unnaturalness of it, allowing it to make an emotional  contact before the mind finds some intellectual objection.

Again, a grand aspiration.

Reading back over this, I have to say that I don’t sit before my easel or table and ponder these concerns before I start to work. I often only think about these matters when I come across a quote or a line like the one above from Gauguin. These words often make me wonder about my own aspirations for my work, what they are and how they compare to the painters of the past whose work I admire. I guess I am looking for a commonality in our views that connects us somehow, even though our work may not reflect this bond.

Another grand aspiration.

The entry above was first posted here back in 2011. I chose to run it again today because as I prepare for my show that opens in a bit over two weeks I find myself seeing the importance of  color in my work, even more than form and subject. It has it’s own feeling, its own rhythm and harmony– the vibration described above. It propels the work and makes certain pieces resonate like visual music.

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