André Derain at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

André Derain at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

On a recent visit to Paris, we visited the  Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and saw an amazing show of titans Andre Derain, Alberto Giacometti, and Balthus.

My husband Mark, an actor, and quite sensitive to all of the arts, was very struck by Derain, French artist, painter, sculptor, co-founder of Fauvism with Henri Matisse, and it seemed to us, outsized personality.  I.e.- ballzout!

Let’s take a look at some of his work that was shown in the show at the MAM in June – October 2017.

Strong paintings…

Muscular portraits…

Intriguing carvings…

and reliefs…

Whimsical work for the stage…

Even his stamp is arresting…the insignia of the man and the artist…HimSelf.

 

 

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Artist Style: The Wild, The Weird, and the Wondrous

Artist Style: The Wild, The Weird, and the Wondrous

Frida Kahlo Color

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Salvador Dali Moustaches

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Betye Saar Detail

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Diego Rivera…and Frida

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Diego Rivera with Wife Frida Kahlo

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.




“As the Color Turns: Considering the Color Wheel”

The full version of this article, as well as much, much more of interest to the decorative painter, and artists, entrepreneurs, and business folk of all stripes can be found in Cre8tive Compass Magazine, helmed by the inimitable Rebecca E. Parsons, artist, blogger, teacher, and creative entrepreneur extraordinaire.

As the Color Turns: Considering the Color Wheel

As decorative painters, artists, and artisans, color is one of the building blocks of what we do. We are making color decisions each and every time we paint, glaze, gild, plaster, and mix and match materials. Color plays a key role in texture, pattern, imagery, and sensibility, the tools of our trade. Consideration of the color wheel, whether it be before, during, or after we have designed, sampled and applied a treatment can yield revealing, surprising, and even fascinating findings about ourselves, our clients and customers, and the environments in which we work.

Primary Colors: Here’s to the Red,  Yellow, and Blue

The primary colors of red, yellow and blue, the components of all other hues, (excluding black and white), in the world of paint, are dynamic when placed next to each other.  Although the renditions of each may not be “pure” in the strict sense, this triad captures our attention, and draws us into a space that feels clearly defined.  As in the entryway pictured above, the blue may be textured, the red a metallic copper paint, and the yellow a multicolored glaze, but the effect is still that of three independent  hues working in dynamic harmony. The result is that of layers of color which set each other off, which draw the eye  from room to room.

Complementary Colors: The Attraction of Opposites


Complementary colors subdue one another when mixed, and, conversely, intensify one another when juxtaposed.” says Christine Pittel, in “Color and Light Luminous Atmospheres for Painted Rooms” by Donald Kauffman and Taffy Dahl. (Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. c. 1999)  The complementary duos of blue and orange, green and red, or purple and yellow, (opposite each other on the color wheel) will create vibrancy and drama, drawing attention to any space they clothe. Here several glazes in each of the two hues are manipulated over a lighter  base coat in the same color family. The combination of glazes lends depth and complexity to the surface. Juxtaposing complements creates an instant color “pop”, which can be fun, powerful, and theatrical focal point.

Analogous Colors: Hue on Hue: Energetic Intensity


Blending analogous colors (those adjacent to each other on the color wheel) across a surface can produce an energetic, yet harmonious effect. The colors work well together because they are closely related, and their combination creates  interest. An added benefit to the decorative painter is the ability to integrate glazes more seamlessly together:  being  unified by color; they are easier to blend. Keeping the base coat and glaze colors analogous will cover up a multitude of glazing issues such as seams and joins created by the overlap of wet onto drying glaze. The closer a base coat color is in hue, intensity and value to the glazes being used over it, the easier it will be for us to control the effects we wish to create.

Neutrals: Tone on Tone: Subtle Harmony


“Tone on tone” neutrals create a sense of peace, calm, and soothing harmony.  However, is any color really “neutral”?  Creams, beiges, taupes, grays and ivories actually have significant undertones of color which define them, and thus the effect they create in combination with other “neutrals”. Combining soft colors interrelated in hue and value (tone on tone) needn’t be monochromatic (based on just one hue). Their combination can also be complex, and very satisfying, offering a sense of richness and comfort. When manipulating multiple glazes over a base coat, one way to ensure integration of all colors involved is to make a glaze out of the base coat color, and use it as part of the scheme. This will create an immediate tie-in of the base coat to the glaze colors, and enable easier blending of the glazes over the surface.

Color is a powerful tool, and when we understand how the color wheel works, we can employ it to our advantage in designing and executing  finishes, applications and treatments. In addition, our color knowledge can inform how we plan, mix and manipulate our materials enabling us greater mastery and control over our processes. As we enter more deeply into the resonant world of color, we can use its magic to enhance, beautify, communicate about and transform our world, one space at a time.

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