Friday, March 7, 2008


As I mentioned last week, spring is in the air. We've had some gorgeous days, and now it's cooling down again. Still, there's a lot of bloom, the neighborhood birds are coming up with new CDs and everything feels, well, different.

Which is probably why I suddenly got fed up with my usual colors. As you probably know, I often paint with a lot of neutral colors and subtle hue changes, with hardly any intense pure bright colors. If you had to make a list of 5 painters you know who paint cheery paintings, I bet my name would not come up. Come to think of it, if the list was supposed to have 50 painters, the result would not change.

But the last week I was tired of all that. I wanted to reach for the oranges, the yellows, the reds, even considered the pinks (ahhhhh, the horror!) - all the warm colors that sit in my drawer and look at me with big eyes full of deprivation and sorrow each and every time I go for the blues (pun intended).

I was also kinda annoyed that I did not get to paint for a while, as I was busy with the show I helped organizing and hanging, plus other stuff that needed to be done for our organization - I wanted to bloody paint!!!

I do have a painting in the making, but it's yet another somber one, and I just didn't feel like agonizing over it (plus, it's my first painting that involves hands, and they are quite challenging, so it did not contribute to a cheery state of being).

So, last evening, I just went for it. Just for fun. Decided to work from a photo sent to me by Dinush whose portrait I painted last month
. The photo is of the conductor of the choral group in which my sister and Dinush sing in back in Israel. This image was stewing in my mind for a couple of weeks; not only does it have a wonderful light pattern, I was also captured by the attitude and the posture. I also want to start doing more figures and go beyond the face.

As I pulled the tubes of long-forgotten warm colors out of the drawer, they blinked against the light (poor things, they are so used to the cozy darkness of my art cabinet). I did a very simple drawing, and started to have fun with color. Worked without a break for about 3 hours, during which The JohnnyB came home, made lasagna from scratch (as in starting with flour, water and eggs for the pasta itself - that kind of scratch!!), took a break for dinner, and proceeded to work on it till about 2:30am. It was the kind of painting that just kept happening and told me what needs to be done next. I couldn't just leave it in the middle and go to sleep. That would just be impolite.

I painted it on Tyvek - I am finally starting to get the hang of this surface, discovering the good and the bad with every new painting I do on do, and falling in love with it each and every time. It keeps challenging me, never ceases to surprise (for better and worse), prevents me from getting too tight and forces me to find new creative solutions to the problems that arise during the painting, making sure there's never a dull moment while working on it. All that, while proving this incredible texture - What more can you ask for?

When I showed the painting to The JohnnyB, he said with sheer astionishment "I love the colors!". I don't think I've ever used such vivid colors in a painting without toning them down. Our critique group responded with similarl shock, and then came up with a petition that I continue to paint with bursting color. Well, I had such fun painting like this, I think I just might do that occasionally.


RHCarpenter said...

You really made those colors happy, Nava! This painting glows :)

Tracy Wandling said...

Oh well done!! It glows, it sings, it does a little dance! I love it!! Do more, do more!!! lol

Nava said...

OK, I'll try to do more of this. Got to have the right mood, though.

Tracy Wandling said...

Yeah, I know what you mean...vibrant color has to go with vibrant too. I'm trying to work through that, but it sure ain't easy!

Anonymous said...

You made my day - to see the OTHER side of Nava was a gift - and those luscious, delicious, audacious coooollloooors, Yeah!!