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Forbidden Fruitan artist's stand against chromophobia

It is no secret that that my paintings have layers of symbolism, often consciously unintended on my part. At times the symbolism is obvious.

There is an immense prejudice in our society for color. Susan Sargent states in her book The Comfort of Color :

"After being highly highly valued for centuries, color became forbidden fruit,.associated with loose reasoning, slack morals, and unrestrained living. In this extreme climate, reason, conformity, and moral rectitude ruled. Color, like emotion, was to be managed, controlled, and subdued."

Particularly in the representative artist circles, bright, saturated color is often considered, "too sweet", "garish" even, "vulgar." Don't believe me? Chromophobia has been seeping into western culture for some time. Read the following: scroll down to the next paragraph on page 22 where it starts with, "the notion" down through page 23 ending in the beginning of page 24.

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So! Once again we get to religion! In particular, false doctrine. Color is feminine, beguiling, and we all know that all our problems started with that evil creation of the woman who ruined everything for the perfect man. The fact that I'm a woman, perhaps speaks volumes for my use of color. But I'm not even allowed to object!!! Like my use of color, I must be tempered and subdued, brought in under man's restraint and control. How did I suddenly become responsible for the very destruction of all mankind?! My revered ancestors initiated our mortal journey, without which, none of us would even be around! Eve must be thanked for her part of embracing her humanity. As the mother of all living, I am confident she would have painted with beautiful, saturated color.

Additionally disturbing, is the prevalent belief that the use of pure color, even straight out of the tube, is a mark of a beginner. Children, LOVE bright colors, and it is only when they grow older and have been corrupted by our rigid society that they turn away from their beautiful tastes.

With all due respect to all the fabulous artists that hold this believe, and who may very well themselves suffer from chromophobia, I object to this misguided and misinformed idea! Frankly, I have yet, to see a beginning artist use pure, beautiful color (unless they are children). On the contrary, beginners and professionals alike tend to muddy and deaden their paints killing any sense of liveliness and light that can only be described with the proper use of saturated color.

Being aware of this prejudice regarding the use of color, I have devoted the last year to.(cringe)gray. I wanted acceptance among "those that are in the know". I have explored the earth pigments, I've spent considerable time painting "reality"in fact, graying down what I see. I wanted to try it "their way" before discounting the repeated professional advice to "tone down" my use of color. The above two little studies we're painted at moments of weakness in my resolve to paint the ugly mud that my mentors encouraged me in pursuing. Painting these was pure (and forbidden) delight!Is an artist allowed to adore the fruits of their labor?!

My year of gray is coming to an end (oh, the joy!) and it has not been without it's learning moments. I do not regret it, yet, have no desire to repeat it. My paintings have grown. I've learned the value of neutrality, of balance, restraint,and quiet harmony. In doing so, I have moved forward in my painting journey. I've also gained much needed confidence in my painting voice. Indeed, I do not use bright colors simply because I lack knowledge in controlling them. I use them, because I am no chromophobe. Iuse them because I amNOT afraid!Not afraid of color, not afraid of mistakes, not afraid of hardships.

I hope you enjoy these miniatures that will be displayed at Artic Rose Gallery for the month of December. They are not simply statements of defiance against conformity, rather, they are shouts of triumph over my adversity. They are not perfect paintings, rather, perfect expressions of my individualityand hopefully yours as well.Matthew 20:7 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. In fact, the entire chapter seems particularly appropriate to the subject.

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Footnotes

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Posted in Photograph Post Date 03/24/2021


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