“A Book of Ours”: Stan VanDerBeek at Black Mountain Collage

“A Book of Ours”: Stan VanDerBeek at Black Mountain Collage

Stan VanDerBeek at Black Mountain College…at The Hammer Museum‘s “Leap Before You Look” show.  Wordplay…humble materials, engaging imagery…”A Book of Ours” is a must-see…as is the whole show.

“We do not always create ‘works of art,’ but rather experiments; it is not our intention to fill museums: we are gathering experience.” Josef Albers

Check it out.

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PaintedPages2: The Painted Book

PaintedPages2: The Painted Book

Painting on denim, reading color, the ties that bind, the vocabulary of color. 

These are themes that come to mind when creating “painted books”.

WEBeA multiple signature book, bound with hemp cord, covers of board covered with painted denim,  pages made of painted denim bifolios.

WEBaOne piece covers front and back covers, and spine piece.  Creating a book with a painting..

WEBdEdges left raw.

WEBlInside front cover is unpainted denim, overlaid with painted piece.

WEBb    The acrylic painting gives the pages a satisfying heft…WEBcThe content is color…

WEBnand texture.

WEBkAnd a river runs through it…when do the elements of shape, texture and color come together to create an image that would be interpreted by the viewer as in generally the same way?

When does a collection of elements become a “thing”?

Creating Color Harmony

 Creating Color Harmony

On  April 21, I chatted with on her Artistically Speaking Talk Show about the “Art of Color Harmony”, based on the work of  Michel Eugène (M.E.)  Chevreul.  Chevreul was a contemporary of the painter Eugène Delacroix, and he penned “The Principles Of Harmony And Contrast Of Colors: And Their Applications To The Arts” in 1855.  He was a chemist, Chevreul’s color principles influenced great European art movements including Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism and Orphism.

Rebecca’s interview guest on the program that day was Rachel Rockwell, of Bubbly Nature Creations.  They discussed food photography, and Rachel generously offered tips for the novice, and aspiring photographer.  Rebecca suggested I use Rachel’s images to illustrate this post, and I  discovered something in common to these two, separated by over 150 years..soap! Chevreul’s research “enabled him to elucidate the true nature of soap…which led to important improvements in the processes of candle-manufacture.” Rachel started her blog as a way to document her soap-making!   Such… synchronicity!      But onward…to The Art of Color Harmony, illustrated by Rachel Rockwell, and Rebecca E. Parsons.

We discussed six ways of creating color harmony, three “Harmonies of Analogy”, based on similarity, or relatedness, and three “Harmonies of Contrast”, based on differences.  Interesting to note that “harmony” can be achieved by what would seem to be opposite principles…read on! (A word of advice: have your meal first..these images may have a mouth-watering effect!)

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What Chevreul called the “harmony of scale” involves putting together colors closely related in  value (lightness/darkness) and hue (the pure color itself).  Above the chocolate browns  create a most delicious tone-on-tone effect, relieved by the  complementary (opposite each other on the color wheel) red and green of the strawberries.

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Here we see a similar “harmony of scale” effect, with a gradation of color in the cake’s frosting, going from darker, brighter and more intense/concentrated at the bottom, becoming almost white at the top. Earthy and colorful touches break up the harmony of scale, to add “the harmony of contrast of colors”…but we will get to that!

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Not food photography above, but a lovely example of harmony of scale…pink on pink, with just a slight shift in value to the darker on the embellishment!

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Analogous colors (those next to each other on the color wheel, of similar value create the “harmony of hues” when put together, such as the oranges, golds and orange-browns above. They are beautifully offset by the complimentary blue box behind, which makes the whole composition pop.

Har3Photo by Rebecca E. Parsons

The third “Harmony of Analogy” described by Chevreul as “harmony of a dominant colored light” relates to, as I understand it, the harmonious effect of a “dominant tinted light” on varying hues and values. Above we see, gratis Rebecca, an assortment of variously flavored cupcakes of different hue, some darker, some lighter, illuminated by a warm light.  The color of the light is a unifying factor in the grouping, composition, and harmonious effect.

We now come to Chevreul’s three “Harmonies of Contrast” in which color harmony is achieved through differences, IE, contrasts. We begin to see how many different paths there can be to harmony…is there a lesson beyond color theory in all this…?

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I am not sure what the delicious-looking drink above above consists of as far as ingredients go, but it can be seen as an example of what Chevreul terms,  “harmony of a contrast of scale”. One basic hue, speckled with  much darker value of that hue creates a kind of tone-on-tone texture.  or, so it looks to be in the photo. In any event, the effect is that of unified harmony,  and titillates our taste-buds!

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By contrast (no pun intended) the “harmony of contrast of hues” is illustrated above. Related colors (red plus white equals pink) in highly differentiated values (white the lightest, the pink the mid-tone, and the red, though bright, the darkest) set each other off by virtue of their difference…not only in value, but also in purity, and chroma.

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Finally, we arrive at one of my favorites, the “harmony of contrast of colors“. Here is where the ideas of “the attraction of opposites” comes into play. We see how colors far apart in value and hue can be combined to create relationships that are dynamic and visually arresting, yet harmonious nonetheless. In the image above, we see aspects of the three primary colors, red, yellow and blue represented and cooled by white. The colors have a great deal of contrast, yet create a harmonious whole.

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Harmony can also be created by the presence of two complimentary colors,  (again, colors which are  opposite each other on the color wheel) such as red and green!  Notice how the green garnish sets off the reds of the tomato, and focuses the composition? Still harmonious, but powerful!

And, what can be more powerful at last, than harmony?

Here’s wishing YOU the peacefulness and power of harmony; in Art, in Work, in Life.

Here’s to a harmonious world.

Cheers!

A Saga of Flying Cranes: Inspiration

A Saga of Flying Cranes: Inspiration

Cranes are the inspiration for a project in a historic building  in the historic West Adams neighborhood of  Los Angeles.

The gold-leafed surfaces of traditional Japanese screens often serve as a background for crane, and other images.

           Although standing cranes are pleasing, flying cranes provide more movement.

The element of the fading red moon (probably conceived by the artists of such screen and scroll paintings as a sun), was found particularly attractive.

The richly textured and patterned borders of traditional Japanese scroll painting may provide direction and context for the border design of the piece.


The Asian depiction of cranes seems to differ in some aspects to the Western. Photographic and cinematic images of flying cranes stimulate design and composition ideas.

Incredible patterns and textures found in the image below suggest movement, relating to that of the Flying Cranes.

More Inspiration.

I am thrilled to be involved in such an exciting project, and am looking  forward to see what happens next!

To Be Continued…

E-LUMEN-8 your life

E-LUMEN-8

Your Life…

In an increasingly technological world, there is a corresponding need for work created by hand.  As humans, we respond to useful objects of wonder and beauty.

“Artissima Lumens”  are hand-adorned light switch plates created custom, one at a time  as art, celebration and decor. They are created of water-borne primers, paints, semi-transparent glazes, stencils, metallic media, and varnish.

The plain plastic, or wooden plate is sanded to create texture or “tooth”, readying the surface to receive the primer which creates a bondable surface for the painted base coat.  The surface is thus  prepared for more intricate layers of adornment.

Paints, semi-sheer glaze or other media are manipulated across the surface to create visual interest and an interplay of color and texture.

Gold, silver, copper and bronze metallic media add luminescence, glow, and glimmer which  catch the light and animate the surface.

Stenciled or hand-painted pattern and imagery establish a composition which can become playful, elegant, whimsical, retro,  nostalgic , contemporary or celebratory.

The necessary hardware or screws are treated as part of the whole, and treated to each successive application.  They become part of the visual composition, as does the aperture for the switch itself.

When at last complete, the work is sealed and protected with  water-borne varnish. The “Lumen” is now is ready to eLUMENate its chosen light switch, and give the user a jolt of light energy.

Experience shows that we can become more calm, energetic, stimulated, peaceful and alive through interaction with our visual surroundings.  Color, texture, pattern and imagery can enhance, beautify, communicate, and  transform our feelings and surroundings, and thus both our interior and exterior landscape.

If YOU are interested in ordering or commissioning an “Artissima Lumen” please email: debra@artifactorystudio.com

BELIEVE

CREATE SUCCESS

 HAVE GRATITUDE

Some Favorite Things…

Some Favorite Things…

Posted purely for pleasure…taking a moment away from the more serious subjects I usually tackle in posts..but hey!

Pure pleasure can be serious business!

Pure Luminosity

Pure Winsome

Pure Magnificence

Pure Pan

Pure Color

Pure Golden

Pure MOM

Pure Howl

Pure Image

Pure Love

What are some of YOUR favorite things?? 

                     If you are so moved, please share them with us here.  We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all responding to this thing called Life, together.




Brand New 2

Brand New 2

What is a “brand“?  I added a link to the term, because I think Wikipedia describes the concept better than I can, at least at this stage.  One of the salient words used in the definition is “identity”.  Specifically: “A brand is the identity of a specific product,  service,  or business.” My colleague  Elka Eastly Veratransformative coach and brand consultant, defines it such: “A brand is like soul DNA. It’s what people recognize you for. It’s where the “you of you” meets the world. It’s the essence of your business. “

Jim Moran, founder and manager of Co-Op, a NYC-based branding firm, says,Brand is really the DNA that defines your company. Branding is about storytelling.  it’s about bringing the DNA to life and creating perceptions.”

When Frank Mahnke, of the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers says that color is a form of communication and information, he is talking the language of branding.  How do colors, patterns, textures, shapes, forms and images create  ‘soul DNA’, and story?

It took me awhile to realize how much like graphic design and marketing decorative painting could be.  When I worked with the talented graphic designer Dianna Jacobsen, of Jacobsen Design, on the creation of my website, business cards, brochure, and postcard, I went through an in-depth process of determining how I wanted to beam my business, my work, my self, out into the world.

It’s not just about making things beautiful, but creating an experience for people.” says Dianna, about bringing the “brand” into physical spaces.

When I found myself working with clients ranging from businesses and  organizations to  non-profits and institutions, I discovered that I was helping them do just that through visual, and often verbal elements as well.

Let’s take a look at a few of them who employed the painter’s brush as a tool for communicating their message.

921 Front Street is a historic building dating from 1859, located in the North Waterfront area of San Francisco. Originally a warehouse, it is now a commercial building providing office space. The signage in the lobby is based on the building’s logo, so there is an immediate tie-in to the brand.  The metallic copper and steely silver colors used in the lettering reflect the natural and industrial materials used in the lobby.

Maitri Compassionate Care provides exemplary, innovative, and compassionate hospice care. The Maitri Mover Campaign Donor Recognition Arch above was designed to honor the donors who participated in the capital campaign supporting its present facility. Names of donors are hand-painted onto the glazed surface of the industrial arch which supports the one-time parking garage.  Like 921 Front Street,  the lettering is done in metallic paints to draw the eye to the words, and make them stand out from the background.  Whether said background be black or white, and the words words sparse or abundant, all visual and verbal elements support the branding.

“On the Fly” is a specialty men’s store designed by  Martinkovic Milford Architects The broken stripe design suggests stitching, as well as the classic men’s pin-striped suit sold inside. The stripe patten reflects the visual branding image used in the brand’s marketing materials. The “hands on” stripe application both communicates and enhances the store’s established visual message, and is “tailor-made” for the venue!

Also communicating directly out onto the “street”, but in a whole other way, the mural above depicts an imagined “Land of Oshun”, where a host of interacting Oshun figures express the colors, symbols, and attributes of this beneficent and inspirational goddess figure. Oshun Center, a drop-in center for women and their families, is a program of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics.   Oshun is the name of an “Orisha” or goddess in the Yoruban (an ethno-linguistic group of West Africa), Brazilian, and Cuban religious pantheons.  Oshun’s color is yellow, and her metals are gold and copper. Other symbols depicted in the mural include peacocks and mirrors, reflective of vanity and physical beauty.  Oshun represents life’s joys, and all that makes it worth living, and this is the “soul DNA”, message, story,  brand, of Oshun Center, supported in turn, by the visual language of the mural.

When we think about how everything we see, indeed everything we experience through any of our senses, transmits something, carries and provides associations, and potentially stirs our emotions, we can see just how powerful visual and verbal elements can be in telling the story of our soul, and communicating the soul of our story.

How have You communicated the essence of your own work or business, or that of another,  through the elements of color, pattern, texture and imagery?  What about words, text, or as the brand editor Abby Kerr would say, “phraseologie”?

Please share about the richness of your experience with us here.  We love to hear from You.

Remember, we  are all branding through this thing called Life, together.


Brand New

Brand New

What is a “brand“?  I added a link to the term, because I think Wikipedia describes the concept better than I can, at least at this stage.  One of the salient words used in the definition is “identity”.  Specifically: “A brand is the identity of a specific product,  service,  or business.” My colleague  Elka Eastly Veratransformative coach and brand consultant, defines it such: “A brand is like soul DNA. It’s what people recognize you for. It’s where the “you of you” meets the world. It’s the essence of your business. “

If we look at the idea of a “brand” this way, then it could even be used to describe how we present ourselves in the world.  But that is a subject for another post….

The visual elements of color and design, pattern and image, texture, shape and composition can all be brought to bear upon  the process of developing and communicating a brand identity.  Graphic designers, like the talented Dianna Jacobsen, of Jacobsen Design, do this all the time.

As an artist, muralist, decorative painter, and colorist (not mutually exclusive terms by any means), I am always intrigued with how this works, and fascinated to participate.  We may tend to think of “brands” as purely commercial (cereal, dog food and shoes come to mind), but devoted non-profits and noble institutions also have theirs, and in my experience, a similar approach is taken to communicate them.

Let’s look at a number of  businesses and organizations who employed the painter’s brush as a tool for communicating their message, how color plays a starring role in their brand identity, and why.

When  Benihana Restaurant in Cupertino, Ca. underwent extensive remodeling,  a mural consisting of a branded graphical design was specified to be painted on the “corrugated” concrete surface approximately 10 to 80′ in the air.  Benjamin Moore Creative Paint in San Francisco matched the colors of the restaurant’s branded interior wall covering in  paint. Master color mixer and matcher Norman Chinn chose Ben Moore Aura exterior paint colors by eye. He was so precise that without knowing it, he chose the very strawberry red used as a stock color in the Benihana Restaurant brand, which is heavy on warm reds, punctuated by creams, darker reds, and red-blacks. Red tends to be associated with heat fire and blood…can we read, appetite?

Red is used in a different way in the new  Dress for Success San Francisco headquarters, designed by local architectural firm, Martinkovic Milford Architects.  Dress for Success provides business attire and training for women, and key to the design is the theme of butterflies, expressing the idea of transformation. Tone on tone reds provide warmth, accent, and a sense of womb-like support for the women getting ready to launch out into the business world.  Red’s association with life and love doesn’t hurt either.

  Blush Organic Frozen Yogurt venue in San Francisco’s South of Market District is painted is apple green and crisp white, communicating a sense of freshness appropriate to a dairy-orientated ‘snackery”.  However, this hue of green also provides other tasty associations:  the sharp and pungent flavors of limes and sour apples, as well as the sweetness of kiwis and honeydew melons.  All cool and refreshing, and fruity ingredients that could be used in their delicious yogurt!

Although also used to evoke connotations of the natural world, the greens in the  mural below, designed and executed for San Francisco’s Planning for Elders in the Central City organization serve quite a different function. “PECC”, which works to “improve the quality of life of seniors, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers in San Francisco and beyond….”  wanted to use the tree as a central image to express life, giving, renewal, community and support.  Associations with the Tree of Life, and the Giving Tree are amplified by using the color of leaves, which also represents life.  Green is also one of the colors associated with the heart chakra, standing for love, sympathy, and harmony.

Embarking on this post, I see how rich, expansive, and complex the subject of visual branding and the way artists can support it,  is.  A sister post may be in order to further elaborate on the subject. 

When we think about how everything we see, indeed everything we experience through any of our senses, communicates something, carries and provides associations, and potentially stirs our emotions, it boggles the mind, (no pun intended.)  We see, and experience first-hand just how powerful the element of color is, and how many different ways it can be used. 

We can perhaps understand in a new way, the expression, “…coloring perception…”

What experiences have You had with color branding?  Have you used color as part of a brand consultation? Color consulted with businesses, organizations, or even individuals on the how of hue  for their “soul DNA“, as Elka Eastly Vera, would say?

If so, please share it with us here.  We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all bounding and branding through this thing called Life, together.