Sunday 30 November 2008

Art Monday: tangling some blue

Last week I was tagged by Mike of Tangled Up In Blue Guy with a blogging meme. So can I out-blue the Blue Guy?

Here are the rules:
  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Write six random arbitrary things about yourself.
  4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
  5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Keeping a blue theme in mind, I'm going to change the rules a bit. I'll talk about my associations with colour, and things I often teach about pigments. Here we go.

Phthalocyanine Blue: Throughout university, this blue appealed to me. It has a green undertone which made it feel dirtier and more like a blue you'd encounter in a mysterious forest. Painting pale flesh tones was daunting early on, so I'd paint them in blue tones. Gradually I warmed up to greens with naples yellow, and then red with naples yellow. But blue was a safe place to start, so far removed from human pigment.

French Ultramarine: I'm going to say this out loud on the internet, and it's a scandal. I'm more nervous about admitting this to Mike than announcing to the world I'm an atheist. I hope we will still be friends. Mike's blog is named Tangled Up in Blue Guy after a song by Bob Dylan. I can't stand Bob Dylan. Oh, I'm not ashamed of this. Bob Dylan drives me nuts. No redeeming value to his music to my ears. This shouldn't be a surprise with what I've mentioned about music in the past. Mike, do I still have a free pass to comment on your blog? Or has it been revoked?

Mauve (blue shade): The Symbolist era of painting in the "Mauve 1890's" is the era I feel the strongest affinity to, though it is almost the antithesis of what I paint. Much of the fin-de-siecle angst was about harkening back to an earlier period of art, literature and myth. Fear of modernisation and industrialisation drive much of the subjects of art at this time. The Impressionist movement was largely ignored by artists I see as heroes, such as Redon, Deville, Moreau, and (my favourite) Khnopff. Instead they painted Salome with the head of John the Baptist, sphinxes and chimaeras, tombs and beautiful Mannerist-style bodies. I love the Symbolist aesthetic, but I am an artist in awe of science when it comes to my subject matter.

Indanthrene Blue: When walking my dog in a wooded park, sometimes we'd stop and I'd lie on my black and stare up at a deep blue autumn sky. And just try to absorb all - that - blue. Beautiful scattered light blue.

Cobalt Rose: Cobalt is an expensive, mildly toxic, strong tinting, long-lasting (we're talking centuries) blue pigment. And it reminds me of Dungeons & Dragons. In D&D, there are a type of goblin called kobolds. And the pigment is named after them, for the difficulty of mining it and for its poisonous nature.

Cerulean Blue: Go to an art gallery, and take a look at the religious paintings. (Go ahead, you can be an atheist and think they're beautiful, it's fine. Think of the talented humans who created them and be in awe.) You may notice that the virgin Mary is often wearing bright blue. No doubt some twisty theological logic may explain this. There's also a simpler economic reason.

Blues described as 'caeruleum' were quite expensive in medieval and Renaissance times. A patron would send the artist to the apothecary to purchase a certain amount of expensive pigments to pridefully show-off their piety. Who to paint in expensive colours? The most important person in the painting would be Jesus Christ. But he was mainly depicted as an infant or semi-nude in crucifixtio
n scenes.

So the expensive paint would adorn Jesus's mother, Mary. So you know. Praise blue.

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Time to meme-tag. I tag Bond's Blog, Of Two Minds, Laelaps, The Darkened Face of Heaven, Eastern Blot, and The Evilutionary Biologist.

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All original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow. The contents of this blog are under a Creative Commons Licence. See sidebar for details.
Please visit my blog, gallery and reproduction store.


Anonymous said...

Hey, that's a pretty cool way to do this, Glendon. But, not liking Bob Dylan? The concept is, "foreign" to me.

Glendon Mellow said...

Oh okay good, you're still speaking to me.

I just painted a teeny canvas and put it on my scanner with the oils still wet.

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