It’s That Time of Year, Begorrah, for the Wearin’ of the Green

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Fuchsia Fantastic

Fuchsia Fantastic, 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

I’ve always dreaded St. Patrick’s Day.  Every kid in school was wearing green but me. My mother fashioned a homemade clover pin out of green felt and crepe paper. But since it wasn’t legitimate clothing, I got pinched anyway. “That doesn’t count,” my peers all agreed as they chased me around the playground.

On Wednesday, We have a St. Patty’s Party at our church. I scanned my closet and discovered I still don’t own anything green. What’s with that? I love green, especially grass green. It’s nature’s color, for heaven’s sake! My clothes hangers are full of beiges, browns, whites and blacks, but not a smidgen of green.

My eyes are a mixture of light brown and green. Hazel I write down on required forms. They turn chameleon whenever I wear lavender or peach, and then people say “My you have lovely green eyes.”

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I had an olive green carpet in the seventies. In fact, my favorite color back then was olive green. I not only had a suit and a dress in this color. I was designated a “Fall” by the latest home-party color technologist. Of course, my hair was still brown when I took that first test.

Incidentally my favorite foods are green. I love spinach, avocadoes, lettuce, edame, kale, endive, romaine, peas, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, okra, etc. I’m surprised my skin hasn’t turned green on me.

My kids favorite dip was made with spinach, cream cheese and mayonnaise. When finished, it looked like the Emerald City ; bright green and luminous. When friends came over, my kids told them convincingly it was “green grasshopper” dip. After that its popularity plummeted. Soon the authors of this trickery became a bit squeamish themselves, and that was the end of that.

Popeye & Olive Oyl Salt 'n Pepper Shakers

JUST SOLD ON MY ETSY SHOP: Popeye & Olive Oyl
Salt ‘n Pepper Shakers

My mother was a fabulous cook. She rarely used a recipe and had an instinctive sense of how she wanted something to taste. I tried to coax her out of a few concoctions, but she was more comfortable with her own methods of a pinch here, a taste there, a squeeze of this, a drop of that. Her potato salad was to die for.

My kids would eat no one else’s scrambled eggs; only hers. Whenever she asked “what do you want to eat?” without preamble, they always said scrambled eggs. Her curry was the hit of her pinochle club. I relished the smell of it simmering on the stove.

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Prayer Circles 24 x 18 acrylic on canvas

Mother cooked the way I paint. I like to try new mixtures for a certain look or sparkle; a dab of this, a swap of that. One of my favorite colors is made by mixing one part alizarin crimson with a little bit of orange as in the painting above. If you add a drop or two of yellow, it creates a tantalizing background especially for white.

cafe-costa-rica-carol-allen-anfinsen

Cafe’ Costa Rica 20 x 20 SOLD; prints and gicle’s available

If you mix a dot of cobalt blue with yellow, you can get the exact color of varied shades of green from new bright growth to mature bluish stems.

Green up your world this St. Patrick’s Day and experiment with color!

Vindication – What Goes Around Comes Around

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"The Pose" 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

“The Pose” 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

When we moved into our villa, everything was white; the tiled floors, the walls, the cupboards. We watched the trends go from white to color and from pastels to bright and bold. Through it all, we stoically held our own as we watched our friends slather on reds, golds, teals, and yellows.

Our dark bold furnishings complimented our world of white. I did admire the bright gleam of graceful white flowers and white woodwork against the latest trending colors, but we stood firm on grounds of economics and the fact that our walls were freshly painted when we moved in.

Trends have a way of reaching their peak. People tire of intensity and they long for peace and non-distraction. Enter the new white; not only exhibited on walls and cupboard doors, but in furnishings. The scuffed up well-worn white of yesteryear has been replaced by shiny smooth. We’re back in style! Vindication — oh, sweet reprieve!

"Home at Last" 26 x 20 acrylic on canvas
“Home at Last” 26 x 20 acrylic on canvas

The same holds true for clothes. If you leave them hanging in your closet long enough they will be back in style in a few short years. What goes around does come around.

Styles and trends also cycle in the art world; but if you go back far enough, you’ll find some of the same trends with a slight twist.

Today’s trendy art boasts a large following of buyers. It is hip, techie, and speaks to the young at heart. Ignore the trends if you must, or climb on board and take advantage of the upswing; in either case, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring.”

But don’t let your heart or your eyes be fooled. Even though art is trending free and wild, the successful still follow the tried and true rules of color theory and composition. In fact, this is the very reason an artist is able to get away with so much. Knowing what colors to use, how, and when is the key to their popular draw. Rules of composition still apply, perhaps even more so as the subjects and images become more outlandish.

Andy Warhol once said that “rules are meant to be broken.” Knowing how to break them creatively and within the bounds of good taste is another matter. Once you know all the rules that govern art, then choosing which one you will break for a given effect is not stupid, it’s creative license.

"Café Costa Rica" 20 x 20 acrylic on canvas

“Café Costa Rica” 20 x 20 acrylic on canvas

My own journey has been one of trial and error. I’ve always been a non-conformist of sorts, and my internal creativity screams at sameness, blandness, duplication, or compliance with other people’s rules of beauty or completeness.

We’re told as artists that we should be “loose,” and that we should “fly.” But at the same time, our journey is bound by strict compliance to certain codes of behavior and performance. I don’t know about you, but I get confused. I’m hoping something “clicks” sooner than later!