Imagine your world in monotone. Go ahead, close your eyes and see everything in varying shades of gray. Envision every flower and blade of grass, every red rock and sunset – without color. Now reverse that. When we think of the visual arts, we often drench ourselves in a fantastic rainbow of colors. There are times, however, when we can sketch our way into a monochrome world of inventiveness that lets our brilliant imaginations fill in the colorful details. These are the times I love best, when we dive in to art with all our senses: where, sometimes our world can be even more beautiful in black and white.
As an artist, I love to explore any technique, medium and style you can tempt me with. I look to great artists young and old, alive and long-since-departed to collect their drifting atoms from space and time to capture a small piece of their imaginative spirit and include it in my next work of art. I’ve systematically stolen their unique individual life forces and trapped them in my photography, sketches and paintings. I can almost convince myself that all our collective creative juices are flowing through the earth, simply waiting for us to tap into to quench our thirst. From this river I’ve forged countless pieces of colorless works of art that express my thoughts, my surroundings and even my feelings.
There’s no question that color brings works of art to life and I won’t argue that. The use of color in painting, glazing, sculpting and drawing is an art all unto itself – and so is using “no color” at all. We don’t have to look any further than fantastic films like “The Artist” or “Angel-A” to see the contemporary creative use of a world outside of kodachrome in film. Before 1936 the only choice in photography was black and white, but we often see our modern masters utilizing the deep contrast and textures in monochrome today. Let’s not limit ourselves to film and photography or even modern artists, though...
For instance, the entire reason I’m thinking about no-color today is Pablo Picasso. If you’re planning on being anywhere near that great Big Apple we cherish on the east coast this fall, be sure to make your way to the Guggenheim (or you can send my family and me there for ‘research’ purposes). From October 5, 2012 through January 23, 2013 Picasso Black and White examines some 110 paintings, sculptures and works on paper. As stated on their website, “Picasso’s deceptively simple use of isolated black, white, and gray hues belies the extraordinary complexity and power of these expressive works, which purge color in order to highlight their formal structure.”
Who wouldn’t want to see that?
Getting back to the use of color (or no color for the purpose of this blog), we can easily imagine how the use of sepia or the concept of black and white anachronism can exemplify a mood or feeling. I’ve done it a thousand times and we see it often in so many art forms. I’m no Picasso, but I do love to explore different worlds, both in color and not. I would suggest that everyone give the world of gray a second glance, because you never know what you might find there.
Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.
About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, teacher, marketing director and free thinker experiencing life in one of the most inspiring and picturesque places on earth with his fabulous wife and children.
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