Chicago has been in the grips of an Arctic winter, 20 days, now, the temperature has dipped below zero with wind chills that are too painful to record. To those of us, living in the Chicago area, this is not news, just a frigid reality.
However today, the sunlight playing off the stain glass in my studio tricks me, creating a warm atmosphere. I forget about the cold. But then, I go outside (dog duty, errands, etc.) and the cold reality hits.
The statement, “Black is a Color” was the title for a Matisse exhibit held by the M Maeght Gallery in Paris, 1946. Matiisse’s comments on black and his use of black in his paintings caused me to rethink the way in which I use black in my paintings.
I have primarily used black in my paintings to develop a line into a continuous flowing line, to create a sense of movement and rhythm. The image below, Verse Floating Free, is an example. I never thought of black as a color other than depicting and shaping a line.
With Matisse’s remarks in mind, I began to experiment with black in my figurative series, as a color and an object. First, I did several quick sketches of nudes leaning or reclining into an empty space with no visible means of support.
Then I worked an several washes, filling in the background and began to introduce black as a color and a support for the reclining nude.
The final paintings take shape with the black being a strong color, an object and a support.
I believe that being willing to experiment is essential to the makeup of an artist. If unwilling to experiment, the artist and the art becomes repetitive and flat.