2009 - PIEDMONT - 48 x 64 - mixed media on canvasSo there I was... finishing up my FB status with the disclaimer: "I am NOT a colorist!" How surprising and encouraging to hear from several respected artist friends, including the artist/author/color expert Nita Leland, adamantly disagreeing with me. "You are too a colorist. Or have you given up loving red?" she sez...
Ah, the illusions we paint, the hidden struggles under those layers of unfortunate selections and assumptions. A real colorist can go straight to a properly selected and mixed hue, knowing it will juxtapose comfortably or excitedly with the whole. Perhaps what I consider to be my weak suit led indirectly to my exploration of abstraction... even with realist watercolor I painted in thin layers of glaze until everything merged appropriately. My abstract texture relies on many color trials (underpainting, it's professionally called) and if I get it right early on, I'm in big trouble because I need to keep on painting... probably missed a better option!
So, what about all that red paint? It's become my signature color in some circles, almost to the point of saturation! Is it a true love of the color? A lopsided proportion of sales of red paintings? A crutch?
Crutch! The ugly word from teachers of yore... must avoid crutches at all costs! A frequent and easy choice that eliminates real thought or imagination would probably qualify as a crutch. Am I considered a colorist because I use a lot of red? Umm... this does not fit my definition even with a broader palette. Seems to me a colorist would know and manipulate color with more ease... seems... or is a colorist one who is never satisfied with the color arrangement and always searching? Ha! Yeah, that would be me!