Friday, December 5, 2008

Naughty Friday Red

Red Orchids, 40" x 60" Watercolor on d'Arches Paper

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for.”~Georgia O'Keeffe

Red has passion, power, and life. It is one of my favorite colors to paint. All of my major series have a portion of red. Except the wetlands series, but it has orange. My earliest Fortuney Series is based upon a luxurious piece of red and silver Italian watered silk. The Orchid series, the series this piece is from has two dominant pieces in red. This one and one I keep for private collection. Both passion pieces, both benchmark works.

This painting was purchased by a man for his wife, he bought it for its vibrance. I painted it because of the light on this flower in this place at this particular time. The Hymen Conservatory was in Audubon Park. Built and funded by private funds, the greenhouse was one of those old fashioned oasis, open to the public, cared and tended by an orchid master, who taught me some of the names, and brought this one to my attention. It was a rare and lovely place in a park designed by Olmstead, he of Central Park Fame. The Conservatory is gone, replaced by the new clubhouse to the upgraded golf course. The orchid master retired. He and I met afterwards many times, when he cared for my friend Abby's orchids at her house. We three were captured in the web of orchids. Anyone who collects them knows what I am talking about.

But on this day, the red was aglow in a peaceful haven. I sat immediately, began to sketch listening to the birds. Hearing the orchid master pad about, watering this, feeding that. I was focused on the strength of this amazing array. The color pulled me in. The shapes held me in awe. I came back and back to capture this. I used the photos too. But the days in the conservatory, that oasis in the park, are really what I was painting. Treasure. Red lighted treasure in the middle of my park. It was like painting a tide pool of life.

Take some time and look at all the parts, all the variations of reds. There's life and death, still and moving, reality and abstraction. Then notice too, that smack dab in the center is a very still green leave. Dead center. I was experimenting with a Matisse challenge at the time. Composition and dynamics. Can you organize a dead center composition and make it dance?

Well, yes, yes you can.

Now go be naughty your own selves. And put some red in your life.


ParisBreakfasts said...

Red Swedish fish(es)?
Red maraschino cherries?
Red what?
I do love those red raspberry jelly candies.
I should be behind bars for the vast number I've snitched.
Can we make it GREEN Friday instead?

Janice C. Cartier said...

Green could work. Complementary you know. :-) Green whats?