Thursday, December 13, 2012

Color Studies - Connecting Art & Science

Over two years now & it still feels like I'm recovering, although I am beginning to enjoy some of the aspects of my 'new normal'. I used to always think of my numerous interests as conflicted. The connection between my painting & choice of animal as subject was obvious.  But before the BT, I thought of  science and math as just something that was interesting & never made the connection between my art & science.

Looking for purpose in my art has brought me back to my interest in science and re-awakened my inner nerd. Especially when I think about color.

My bachelor degree in electrical engineering came about because of my interest in math and science - the opportunities to get a good job were unquestionable. Working in the field though gave me a good understanding of why a career should be based on something you love to do and I didn't love it. I took a voluntary lay off and went to work helping in my husband's veterinary practice. This gave me time to pursue my real passion - art.

original chart created on a 24" x 30" canvas
Having had the opportunity to study the physics and math of color in college gave me an understanding of color that has transcended the connection between my love of art and my love of science. While taking an oil painting class the teacher strongly suggested making color charts in order to study how the colors blend when mixed.

'Time Out', oil on linen 14x11"- using colors from the chart above
One of the most interesting discoveries I made doing these charts was that the colors used to mix flesh are the same as the colors used to mix earth. All coming from a light source that is bending, refracting and reflecting – the study of color is like playing in a candy store with a very large puzzle. The colors on a palette can be scientifically analyzed and emotionally labeled to create the warm and cool vibrations used to represent life on a two dimensional surface. Wow. I love this stuff.

Color will always dominate my paintings. When thinking about the language of art, for me, color is the voice with which I speak. No wonder I liked playing with crayons and finger paint so much as a child.

In any art, science plays a huge part in both the creation and the message 
- whether you think about it or not :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Looking for "normal"

As my recovery continues, I have found the several months since my last post to be more difficult than the first 6 months.  I've had to make some adjustments I didn't expect (like having to move my studio back home) and some of the physical issues I'm facing might turn out to be permanent.  I miss the veterinary practice management more than I had thought - the people, the interaction with clients - their stories, their horses and the challenges of running a successful business.  But as I settle into my new studio, I feel a need to find more purpose as an artist.  It's a challenge that I am looking forward to as I begin to set new goals with my art.

The language of art is fascinating to me.  I had always thought about my art as something I just do, that it was the process of creating that was my passion and I avoided questions about what it was I was trying to say.  I liked that people enjoyed my work.  I left the message of interpretation up to the viewer with the occasional relevant title of the work to say something.  But since the tumor... I've discovered that being an artist isn't that simple.  Art is different for everyone and I have discovered that for me art is a language that I want to learn to speak.  Before you speak though you have to have something to say.

I'm not there yet & I have a lot of work to do before I get there - if I ever will.  As they say.... "it's the journey, not the destination."  And my journey has definitely changed.

As I was sitting on the beach in California recently, the seagull in the study below was looking for a place to land among a large group of birds.  My urge to paint this is symbolic of how I am feeling at this stage of my recovery.  In order to do a painting of the size and scope I have in mind I will have to go much bigger and out of my comfort zone.   I guess it's just part of the new me......

study for 'Looking to Land'

Getting Back to Normal

Living your life as you wake everyday
Thoughts of where you go, what you'll do, what you'll say
Then something happens and nothing's the same
As you watch plans that you've made slowly fade

Then they open your skull
    exposing your soul
    to save a life worth living
Leaving you lost as you wonder new paths
Finding old ways gone looking back

Now awaken each day glad you're alive
Finding love in the beauty of breath
but the journey has changed and things aren't the same 
and you end the day wanting it back
"You're doing so well and you look so good"
but you know you're different inside
So just leave it alone and don't try to explain
feeling lost on this path I can't hide

The normal that was isn't there anymore
Thoughts of where I go, what I do, what I say
There's a shift in the talk I have with myself
Looking for the new normal each day

.......................Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!  I hope everyone has a great day!