Tag Archives: Color Field

The Life and Work of Abstract Expressionist Artist Helen Frankenthaler

Beloved New York artist, Helen Frankenthaler, recently passed away at the age of 89. This post is a tribute to Helen Frankenthaler; to a life full of beauty and creativity.

“Mountains and Sea”

Frankenthaler initially caught the attention of many due to her unique style of pouring thinned paint onto canvas from coffee cans.  The process is commonly known as “soak- staining.”

Jackson Pollock’s “drip- painting” method was the inspiration for Frankenthaler’s style.  She is known for being a little more deliberate that Pollock with her pouring style.

“One of her most well known paintings is “Mountains and Sea.”  This painting demonstrates the similarities between soak staining and watercolor.  Both styles share a certain lightness and pliancy.

Frankenthaler’s style of abstract expressionism worked to propel the world of art in new and interesting directions.  The 1950’s and 1960’s Color Field Movement was largely influenced by this stain technique.

Helen Frankenthaler, 1952, Color Field paintin...

Frankenthaler is also known for her graceful public presence.  For the most part, she was able to avoid the limelight.  However, when the situation arose she proved competent and capable in expressing herself.

While serving as a presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts, Frankenthaler had the opportunity to advise the National Endowment for the Arts.  She had strong beliefs about the relationship between government and art.  She felt that the government should be given no opportunity to interfere with art or employ censorship.

As a presidential appointee, she worried about the National Endowment for the Arts and their grant giving process.  It was important to Frankenthaler that the NEA not give grants based on their collective likes or dislikes of individuals or styles.  She feared that government grants promoted censorship and government interference.

Frankenthaler confidently spoke about her opinions and as a result was able to help shape ideas and practices where art and government were concerned.

She will continue to be remembered as a phenomenal abstract painter, a trailblazer of abstract Expressionism, and a creative woman who lived a beautiful life.

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-1227-frankenthaler.jpg-20111227,0,832427.photo

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Colors Change What is Beautiful

What is beautiful? The term is a bit subjective, don’t you think? After all, isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?

It most certainly is, but one undeniable quality about color is its ability to make all things beautiful!

This is why color-field painting, with its abstract merging of vivid colors, is responsible for some beautiful works of art.  In this post we will look at how color-field painting evokes emotions and has the ability to change an environment.

By now we know how color impacts art and also stirs emotion in people. Recent posts discuss color therapy, known as chromotherapy and the psychology of color, offering insight into how color can impact an individual.  As artists, we know the emotional impact art can have on us. Vivid colors can stir emotions and hold an observers heart once they pass.

Sometimes, color makes beautiful what was not beautiful before. This is the case of color-field painting; color, shape, composition, proportion, balance, style, and scale change a blank canvas into a brilliant work of art.

This style of art is very abstract and those who are best known for its development are considered Abstract Expressionists.  Color-field painting emerged in New York in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. It was a type of art inspired by European modernism and made popular by artists like Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.

What sets color-field painting apart from other types of abstract art is the artist’s regard for paint.  With the main focus being color, shape, composition, proportion, balance, style, and scale, there is less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and consistent actions that create form and process.  In fact, the entire work of art is created by the artist who determines what elements he or she will add to convey a sense of place, atmosphere, or environment. In other words, what makes color-field painting beautiful, is its subjectivity.

Like most art, the beauty of color-field painting is in the eye of the beholder.  These colorful pieces are nice accents for decoration and fun to paint too! But don’t let the look of simplicity fool you.  This style is not easy to perfect and contrary to how it appears, cannot be replicated by a 6 year old!

Have you splashed your art palette with color today?  Try it and see how color changes what you see as beautiful.

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