Finding Colors that Stop You in Your Tracks
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Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author.
This episode of Civilizations is by far my favorite one! Color in general is fascinating to me, (the way in which the human eye interprets spectrums of light) but to hear the origin stories of specific colors as well as their effect on certain cultures was up lifting. Villages able to be self-sustaining because they could produce a pigment that no one else could at that time is substantial.
It is so easy to take any one color for granted when you have an entire rainbow of colors at your disposal. I personally have never been all that attached to Ultramarine blue because of how transparent it can be when my aim with a piece is to have the blue as opaque as possible. After watching this episode of Civilizations, I have a whole new appreciation for the history of Ultramarine blue and its relevance to the culture of painting. I am aware of what the classic palette is and how it is used traditionally, though I did not know the significant relation it had religiously. I feel as though there were more traditions to be broken earlier on in history (of course) than there are now. I know that there are still conventions to go against and revolutionary ideas to be had but they seem to be fewer and farther apart in our modern world.
Watching the evolution of pigments through time and the power that they had makes me ask the question “What’s left?”. There are days when I am in the studio painting and I almost feel as though everyone who came before me has already made all the great discoveries. Is there any new territory for modern painters to explore? At least in a traditional sense of easel painting. Have all the bases been covered with what can be done with color or will someone surprise the world with a new way? Is it possible that someone can find a new way to use some or all the colors and start a new movement?
I love what can be done with digital media alone as well as being mixed with traditional craftmanship, but I want a movement based on color! I have my own take on how to use color or what I find to be an intriguing way to execute a piece based on color, but is any of it new? Rarely do I find anyone who is leading the way with anything that hasn’t in some way been done. It isn’t as though I don’t enjoy new artists and new work. I suppose I am just wanting another chapter in the history after watching this episode! There are a few pieces of my own that I felt proud of because of how much I enjoyed putting together the color portion of the painting. Certain colors bring up certain emotions and some combinations of colors can bring up a range of emotions for me.
I won’t reveal what colors pull what strings for me personally, but I am forever searching for what gets into other people’s hearts. Anytime I am at an art show, I talk to people about what pieces they are most drawn to and why. I have become obsessed over the years with what a palette can do to push an idea or feeling past the point of mediocrity into the realm of being undeniable. That combination of colors that can stop a person in their tracks in the same way a singer’s voice can. Ensnaring the eye of the viewer with a gravity well of unexpected color use that compels them to close the distance.
Cyrus Fire graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design and specializes in acrylic portrait painting. He has three years teaching experience at CCAD and has promoted painting to children and young adults through the Delaware county library system in Ohio. He has worked with the Harmony Project of Columbus for three years on a community beautification mission painting murals. He also received a commendation from state representative David Leland in 2017 for his work done at the Riffe Gallery located in downtown Columbus. Twitter | Website