Mock-ups and Murals…

Mock-ups and Murals…

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It was great fun to teach a “mock-up to mural painting” program at the Montana Branch Library in Santa Monica this past Saturday.

We called it a

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and attendees looked at a number of my live and in-person mock-ups (to-scale miniatures of planned murals), and images on my site of the finished murals.

Artifactory Studio

Artifactory Studio

Oshun Center

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Planning for Elders in the Central City

Artifactory Studio

Artifactory Studio

Exterior Mural done on fence 2 stories up, seen through kitchen window.

Artifactory Studio

Artifactory Studio

Garden mural done on patio fence.

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Artifactory Studio

Living Room Wall Mural

We talked color, scale, technique, and then they painted their own mock-ups on project display boards. Big Fun!

The results were magnificent.

Each participant expressed her own style, color personality, and visual story.

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WEB6What a privilege to work with these artists, and watch them express themselves in paint, color, line shape and imagery.

Gratitudes!

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The Gift of Compliments

The Gift of Compliments

Today we are celebrating the complimentary pair, yellow and purple, which shows up in nature, architecture and signage, but can always take our breath away.

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Opposite each other on the color wheel…the pair creates both harmony and drama, the contrast of which can be softened by the hues of their surroundings.

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If complimentary colors are mixed together, they “neutralize” each other’s color “properties (akin to mixing black and white ), and can create beautiful grays and rich browns.

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Juxtaposing yellow and purple can create instant associations: royalty (royal purple and gold), springtime (purple crocuses with yellow centers), and holidays (I will let You figure that one out…).

But most often, I feel, our reaction is simply that of pure joy.

Color…is energetic…so…  EnJoy!

 

The Passion of Frida Kahlo

The Passion of Frida Kahlo

Today I taught about the extraordinary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo to teenagers, in conjunction with a lesson about color, acrylic painting, and self-portraits. Last week they had learned about color mixing, and painted the color wheel, some of them for the first time. They played with mixing colors, discovering (I hope)  some of their personal color tastes and preferences, and feelings for color as they used the primaries to mix the secondaries, the primaries and secondaries to create the tertiaries, and use white to create tints.

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All this was partially in preparation for painting today, inspired by Frida. The students used a photograph of themselves as a starting point, and painted around it, and “into it” (over it, if they so chose), and they will work on these and hopefully complete them next week.  Preparing for this class brought me into contact with the work and life of Frida Kahlo…not for the first time…and then trying to communicate about her to the students.  I thought I would share as bit of her work, life and  spirit with You.

FK7‘Frida in Coyoacán’, 1939 (photograph by Nickolas Muray)

Frida Kahlo de Rivera ,  born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón, was a Mexican painter  who is best known for her self-portraits: her paintings of herself.

FK4“The Frame” (“Le Cadre”), 1937-38, oil on aluminum and glass

Some have called her the world’s most famous female painter. She was also a political activist and legend in her own lifetime and beyond, an extraordinary and unique personality who took what Life dealt her, and rewove it into passionate, lyrical and unforgettable works that continued to be treasured today. She left the world a unique treasure: her works a painted diary. She revealed her inner and outer life with passion, courage and visual  poetry filled with color and magic.

FK_self-portrait-with-bonito-1941“Self-Portrait with Bonito”, 1941, oil on canvas

Frida Kahlo’s life began and ended in the same, now famous, house. She was born in 1907 in the  Colonia del Carmen neighborhood of Coyoacan, Mexico City, and died in 1954 in her family home, La Casa Azul, the Blue House,  now the Frida Kahlo Museum.

FK_kahlo-houseLa Casa Azul, (The Blue House)

Frida Kahlo survived numerous challenges both physical and emotional in her life, including contracting polio as a child, a long recovery from a serious bus accident, and two tempestuous marriages to and divorces from  painter Diego Rivera. She mined these experiences, as well as her strong feelings about her Mexican identity,  politics and cultural influences to create highly evocative and personal paintings that communicate universal human feelings and experiences..

At the age of six, she was stricken with polio. It affected her right leg. She spent nine months in bed.

She studied in Mexico City at the National Preparatory School. She planned to become a doctor, but an almost fatal bus accident at the age of 18 changed her life forever. Following her accident she began painting intensely. Perhaps best known for her self-portraits, Kahlo’s work is remembered for its “pain and passion”, and its intense, vibrant colors.

FK6‘Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird‘,
1940 (oil on canvas)

She produced 143 paintings, 55 of which are self-portraits. When asked why she painted so many self-portraits, Frida replied: “Because I am so often alone….because I am the subject I know best.”

A strikingly handsome woman, the Frida was known to stop traffic in San Francisco, New York and Paris in her long traditional Mexican dresses, her hair braided  with ribbons and flowers to identify with her indigenous Mexican culture. Frida dressed this way throughout her adult life, partly to hide a shorter right leg caused by childhood polio.

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Frida in one of her traditional Mexican outfits

Frida Kahlo used personal symbols to express her feelings in her paintings.  Though some have labeled her art as Naïve art or folk art, Surrealism or Magic Realism, she considered her art to be realistic.  Each self-portrait captures aspects of her feelings, and her life experience.  In the style of “Magic, or Magical Realism”, magical elements are presented as a natural part of an otherwise realistic environment.

FK5‘Self Portrait’, 1940, (oil on board)

Frida lived her life to the fullest, despite immense pain,challenges, and suffering. She had a gift for communicating her emotions to the world through painting. Her paintings are beautiful, often heartbreaking works, and are uniquely her style. Yet she was an amazing woman in her own right, for what she has endured, how she persevered, and how she remains an  inspiration and example of strength. She said,

“I am not sick. I am broken.
But I am happy as long as I can paint.”

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Unforgettable Frida

She died on July 13, 1954 of a blockage in her lungs at age 47.

The Power of RED

The Power of RED

Whatever you want to say about it…the color RED elicits strong emotions. What are the associations and meanings  of this volatile color, and what does it symbolize to us?

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An effect of light: COLOR

From an energetic point of view, red is related to the Basis chakra (energy center), and influences the sex glands, and sexual energy.  It symbolizes life and reproduction.  Studies show that it is associated with both love and, to a lesser degree,  hatred,  as well as life, heat, fire and blood.

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Life Force

Red is arousing, stimulating,  and exciting, relating to both passion, strength, activity and warmth, as well as aggression, rage, intensity and ferocity.   One aspect, it would seem, that can be agreed upon, is that red is energizing!

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I am RED hear me roar!

 Synesthesia, the experience of a sensory “cross-over“, ” is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.“.  Thus a color may elicit associations with particular sounds, tastes, smells, or tactile sensations.  In the case of RED, is associates with loud sounds, specifically, the trumpet, as well as sweet and strong tastes and odors.  Red’s tactile association is firmness and solidity.

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Firmness, Solidity, Strength: holding it all together

What is in common here? Strength. No  half-way measures here…RED packs the proverbial “punch”.  Indeed, if we are punched, the area where we are impacted more often becomes red quickly, as the  the blow brings up our actual blood in response so healing/repair can begin immediately..  Seeing Red anyone?  Well, here’s hoping that doesn’t happen to You!

Let’s look at happy, healthy, healing and sometimes outrageous but always energizing uses of RED!

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Brilliant RED, setting off the adjacent gray, adds fire to this exterior architectural color scheme! Symmetry is avoided, but balance is achieved.

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Red does double duty here  energizing both door  and address numbers, again framed by cooling gray, which makes the red stand out that much more.

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The red door let’s us know exactly where to go to enter this charming Victorian, which also employs grays and blues and a touch of lavender as a counterbalance to the eye-catching accent door and architectural detail.

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The red side of this bar ties into other red hues in the flow-through living room, as well as the kitchen rug, and other details not pictured, such as a bright red teapot! Fresh white trim frames and accentuates it.

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Red is thought to stimulate the appetite, making it a natural choice for an eating area. In this home, the red of this dining room, and  the blue and gold of the adjoining hallway/entry and living room respectively create a potent triad of primary colors!

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Red associates with love and the heart, and thus is a natural, life affirming accent wall color choice for an organization like Dress for Success, which helps women prepare for fresh starts in their lives.

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The associations of red with grapes and wine may be obvious, especially to those for whom such spirits are their “life blood”. This red accent wall provides a vibrant frame around the vineyard scene.

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Red doesn’t always have to cover the wall to have an impact. Above, it is used as an energizing accent, and makes a statement in the context of the painting, textile, and rug. There is just enough to enliven a smallish room, and add warmth, layering and texture to the predominant hues of beige/cream, white and deep blue.

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The painting of red with turquoise blue in this narrow hallway packs the proverbial punch, and lights up our senses. The brightness and richness of both these colors holds our attention and really keeps us awake!

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Red and turquoise play nice together as strong accents on this painted chair, reminiscent of the Southwestern United States, in both imagery and hue.

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Setting each other off like black on white, the green background makes its compliment, red, pop! Loving ladybugs, anyone?

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Red is the perfect choice for a sidewalk “sandwich” sign, designed to attract attention, inform, point the way, and draw in customers!

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Flying high…the associations are here are clear!

What does RED mean to YOU?!

Compliments of the House…and Sky

Compliments of the House…and Sky

L.A.’s beach towns offer an abundance of local, architectural, and natural color.  Recently, I have noticed a predominance of the complimentary pair, blue and orange.  In architecture, the urban landscape, and nature, this pair dances together with energy and grace, delighting our eye, and enlivening all of our senses.  Check out the images below,  for a visual feast that will may leave you full, yet ready for more!

Compliments of Venice’s Abbot Kinney District.

Compliments of the streets of Santa Monica!

Compliments of the  Canal District of Venice.

Compliments of Nature, Marina Del Rey.

What color compliments have YOU noticed lately in your environment?

If you feel so inclined, please share about  them with us here.

We love to hear from YOU.

Remember, we are all complimenting this thing called Life, together!

ENJOY!

Cacophony to Calm…Compensating with Color

 Cacophony to Calm…Compensating with Color

Can color “theory” heal?   If healing means balancing, compensating, and otherwise enhancing the quality of a space, object, light source, or even our bodies, then I believe it can.

Our April 17, 2011 Color Muze  on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, “muzed” about how color can be used to adjust our perception of sound, or the lack of it, and thus balance or “heal” an environment through our sense of seeing, and its potential effect on our sense of hearing.  This is an aspect of the phenomenon of “Synesthesia”, or “Unity of the Senses”, as IACC-NA (International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers-North America)  lecturer, Frank H. Mahnke, terms it.  The idea being  that our perception of color can associate with our perception of another sense, such as hearing.

Warm colors (from red to yellow-green on the color wheel), associate with loudness.


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Cool colors (from green to red-violet on the color wheel) associate with quietness.

This is reflected in our language, the way we talk about our environment, or even our feelings, in terms of color. I am not sure I have ever heard anyone refer to a quiet (or cool) red, though anything is possible!  On the contrary, I remember my mother describing feelings of anger as “Seeing red.”

By comparison, people may speak of a  quieting their emotions when they enter a room in which a “cool” blue predominates.

It is interesting to view the two together…(albeit different hues and values of red and blue).

Thus if we wish to compensate for noise problems in a space, we can add more “cooling” colors such as  blues, blue greens, perhaps even a cool blue-violet. Warm to hot colors such a saturated reds, and “hot” oranges or yellows will tend to exacerbate our sense of being in a noisy environment, which can be significant in any setting where concentration is important.

To relieve a “too-quiet” or tomb-like atmosphere in a room, and add energy, warmer (and lighter) colors may be applied, such as yellow-green, golden-yellow, reds, oranges or “hot” purples (red-violets).

It is fascinating, and fun to see the sound associations the Henrich Frieling, Director of the Institute of Color Psychology assigns to a range of colors:

Red– loud, trumpet

Pink – soft, delicate

Orange – loud, major key

Brown – dark, deep minor key

Gold-Yellow – fanfare, major key

Yellow – shrill, major key

Yellow-Green – high-pitched, minor key

Green – muffled when dull, shrill when saturated

Green-Blue – soft

Blue – distant, flute to violin

Ultramarine – dark, deep, more minor key

Violet – sad, deep, minor key

Light-Purple – weak, restrained

Crimson – powerful, stately

It really begs the question…what might a musician, singer, or music therapist have to say about this?  What about Sharry Edwards, pioneer in the study of Human BioAcoustic Biology…might she have a “color link” to her work and theories on healing the body through sound?

Perhaps a subject for another post…

Have you used color to compensate for too much noise, or not enough sound in your own or other spaces? Have you felt the effect of color healing in regards to your, or your Clients’ auditory environment?  What is YOUR experience with Synesthesia, in regards to the relationship of sight to sound, the visual to the audible?

If you feel so inspired, please share your insights with us here.  We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all seeking the balance in this thing called Life, together.

Here’s wishing you healing wherever you need it most, in your Life right here, right now.  Cheers!