Color has always been important to me. Even as a small child, the aesthetic of color was something I paid attention to. Growing up, we were one of the last families that I know of to get a color TV. After constant pleas to get one, my father finally asked me why it was such a big deal to me. I looked at him and said, ‘real life is in color daddy’. I was four. I guess I was precocious. The reason I remember this exchange, is because my dad found it funny, and would repeat the story to whoever would listen. We still didn’t get a color TV.
I have brown eyes. Occasionally throughout my life, I have wondered how different my life would have been if they had been blue. We all know that blue eyed people have more fun. That’s not to say that for most of my life I ever really wished for that. At least not until recently in my waning years, and being alone so much due to covid19, and ruminating in my own mind about “what could have been”. For most of my life I actually found blue eyes, especially really light ones, creepy, almost devilish. Heheheh. I know, I know, how dumb that is. It may have come about from something I may have heard when I was young, who knows? It did seem that a lot of people that seemed insincere had blue eyes, and often actors with light blue eyes played the “bad guy”. It occurs to me that this is how unreasonable attitudes can arise. I definitely don’t want to add to that shite show. For a long time the only people that I personally knew with blue eyes were my grandmother on my Mom’s side and her second husband who I knew as Grandpa, and I never felt that way about them, so weird.
Here’s my theory on this, as I grew older, it became very obvious that people with blue eyes had the world on a string. Just like blondes, blue eyed people seemed to get away with a lot that the rest of us schmucks couldn’t. And I get it, now. (Watch Republic of Doyle, you’ll see what I mean). So here’s my theory on “spoiled” blue eyed people; people can be very superficial, particularly here in the US. Historically blue eyes have been revered. Songs that played on our heartstrings. Movies and how those blue eyed ones are treated, usually being chosen for the main protagonist, even if not the best actor for the part. I suppose that in this case, the lack of a color TV did me a favor. I know many may disagree, but as I grew up, it was obvious to me that kids at school got treated better, often learning very young to play the cloyingly adorable golden child. Then regarding songs, there are a few that I can think of, that highlight or praise brown eyes, one is Crystal Gayle’s “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”, which is a beautiful song, and another is “Beautiful Brown Eyes” by Rosemary Clooney. But for the most part, it’s those blue eyes people sing of. Oddly enough, I don’t have a lot of portraits that I’ve done, where the subject has blue eyes. I don’t think that that is a conscious thing.
I did have a childhood neighbor, who had blue eyes, and she was the typical middle class princess. I wasn’t allowed to touch anything in her room, and everything was precious, and dolls were it for her. I played with dolls, but I also liked climbing trees, drawing, building forts, and riding horses. Also she only had to bat those blue eyes to get what she wanted, while, I only had to do nothing to suddenly be in trouble. Go figure. I know this is bordering on whining about things that can’t be changed, but it is, to me, one of those things that just seemed to happen a lot. That’s not to say I thought about it much, or even at all. I was a naturally happy kid, and things always seemed to roll off my back. And even as a small kid, I knew that I preferred things the way they were for me. Somewhere in my kid brain, I knew that I was good with the status quo, and just got bored with her. I was what people called back in the day, a “tom-boy”. I wore that like a badge of honor, completely clueless that they didn’t necessarily mean that in a good way. I think that there was only one time that it brought me to tears. I had an older cousin, and he saw that I was upset. I remember to this day what he said to me. He knelt down to my level, and said, “don’t worry, tom boys make the best women.” Then he winked at me. And he was right, heheheh.
Then there are those with green eyes. They always seemed more mysterious and just didn’t have that same shallow vibe. My kids have eyes that change from green to hazel to almost yellow/gold depending on the light. And it’s awesome, I may be a bit biased. Funny how our different experiences in life can “color” the way we think. and By the time we did get a color TV in my childhood home, life had hit us pretty hard, and it just didn’t seem as important.
As an artist, I bounce back and forth between sketching, black and white inking, and vibrant color, and enjoy using all of these styles of art. But I also know my four year old self was right, life is definitely better in color.
Thank you for joining me, and I hope everyone is staying safe and well.
Abstract paintings have been something that I have enjoyed doing, especially in the last few years. I particularly enjoy figurative abstract art. It produces a type of freedom to let go, as well as results in a more exciting piece to view. Having never been one to use mixed media, I have preferred getting the look I was striving for with the paint alone. But the other day, while waiting for something, I pulled up a photo of a painting I had done, and started to play around with the photo editor on my phone. I was pleasantly surprised with the results. So I decided to share them with you here.
This first piece, so far, is my personal favorite. It also happens to be one that I did, after finally deciding that this painting was as finished and refined as it was going to get. (More on that later.)
Although the painting itself was not as spontaneous as when I incorporate the abstract elements as I paint, I do really like the outcome. And using a computer editor, gave me the chance to add to, or completely change how I wanted it to look, which was kind of fun. Below are other versions of this painting as unfinished, and unrefined, with and without embellishments. When I do a portrait of a specific person, it will go through many changes to get to where I feel it represents the person, and I am satisfied with it, as you can see from the photos of this portrait.
The painting itself went through a lot more changes after this to get to where I was good with it.
Some of these changes may appear very subtle but they make all of the difference in capturing the spirit and personality of the subject. There were a lot more stages, but I thought I’d move on to the fun part, goofing around with my phone!
Some of the tools on the app could be taken pretty far, such as this bit, where I went overboard with pixalating it. But I thought it was kind of interesting.
I threw in just a few pixels on this one, and thought the overall effect was cool. Also this was still not a “finalized version” of the painting itself.
The next three images were manipulated on the final version. And although sometimes never completely satisfied, I have to know when to say, “done.”
I hope you are all well and safe, and join me next time! (PS I know I had mentioned that I might go over some of the tools that I use, in this post. I still hope to do that in the future.)
Continuing with the theme of my last post about having been asked to showcase my art at a local Juneteenth event, I managed to get two other paintings done in time to show along with the first, “Beautiful Son”. It’s always gratifying to be acknowledged as an artist, and this is especially so.
The second painting I did, I simply call, “Story Time”. It depicts a young father reading to his baby. Here are some photos of it, and the process of creating this piece. As you can see in the second photo, I drew up a sketch of what I had in mind. In the second, I filled in the background shape of a map of the USA, and began working on the figures. I continued from there, adding color and finishing up the figures to my liking. Once the painting was dry, I gave it a thin coat of acrylic gloss medium. This serves two purposes, it helps to protect the painting, as well as to highlight and maintain the bright colors. This is quite a bit smaller than the first painting, “Beautiful Boy”, for a few reasons, mostly concerning time constraints and having to use what I had on hand. It’s still a good size at 16″x 12″.
The last piece I call, “Grace Under Pressure”. I didn’t get as many photos of the process of this as I was short on time, but I used basically the same process. I did a few quick sketches, (sorry they’re very light, but you get the idea.) From there, I then drew up an approximate sketch on the canvas, arranging, and changing features as I worked on it.
I hope it doesn’t sound egotistical, or worse, silly ( heheh), but I tend to fall in love with my paintings and these are no exception. I think I have even more so, because I feel that I have gotten to a place with my work where I feel more confident about it, as well as am able to create what I envision at a quicker pace. Not that that is important in and of itself. But for me as an artist, it is, as I feel these representations wanting out of my cranium, and am compelled to create them, to get them on the canvas. And now being at a point where I can do so more readily, makes it more of a joy and less tedious. I’m thinking that, in my next post, I may go over some of the tools I use, and give some pointers on my own process. Let me know if any of you think that you might like that, or not. (I’ll still probably do it. 😉
I wish everyone joy, and to stay safe, and I hope you join me next time!