One Pink Field Turned Green ~ Color Field Painting or Something More?

In a dream last week, I saw a pink highlight on a shiny metal statue. Over and over again, the same image reappeared. Then suddenly, I saw the pink changed to a more neutral color.  The dream felt like being in a rainbow, and I knew before the dream was gone ~ which painting the dream was about.

Why is it we can see something one day, so obvious, that all previous days was invisible?

The dream woke me up. Quickly making my coffee, I headed to the palette. Lavande Magic was still on the easel. The painting had been driving me crazy for five years. Ever changing color fields, when one changed ~ they all shifted like dominoes set up in an intricate landscape of undulating hills and valleys.

healing with color
Detail of the pink field

You can see the pink field in this detail photo of the painting. Not a small painting by any means, three by four feet of color swatches side by side, it was tempting to paint over the whole thing!@%&z

That little pink square is 1/2″ square! I painted over it with Verdigris.

color field paintings
detail pink field, painted with verdigris

When that tiny square of pink highlight moved to green on the spectrum ~ all the other pink highlights did the same. Look in the field behind it, to the side, and down through the field in front ~ they all now have the verdigris highlights.

The shift is actually a spectral opposite. Green is the opposite of red. More specifically, pink/verdigris are cool pale red/cool pale green.

This is just a fraction of what happened to the whole painting, however.

color field paintings
unfinished painting

In the unfinished painting above, the intense pink fields in the foreground are most obvious. It is difficult to see beyond them. Everything else is hot, or cold.

Below, you can see the shift. That one verdigris field softened everything. With it, I cooled the shadows in the foreground as well as the fields in the middle ground.

color field paintings
Lavande Magic, final version

I softened the screaming yellow highlights on the trees between the buildings with it. And in the distance as well.

And then it happened. I mixed up a dark green shadow color and painted it into the back sides of the foliage on the left side of the painting. A smidge of it cooled off the cypress trees in the distance as well.

When I stepped back and looked again at the canvas, I saw the yellow wash of color gently lighting the cloud. I brushed it softly over the top of the cloud and into the atmosphere around it.

I have been afraid of my darkness. So afraid of acknowledging the terrible day when I was attacked in the safety of my own studio, I blocked it all out.

Blocking out that one day, trying not to be a victim ~ shaped everything about me. I fought really hard not to appear stupid or naive. What person would be naive enough to try to help someone who was intending to kill you?

Avoiding the dark, my colors screamed with light. Like a deer caught in the headlights ~ I have been frozen, unable to move to protect myself.

What will change now? I don’t know. It’s hard to imagine life any other way. Thirty-five years is a long time.

How could one pink field shift everything?

See more about Lavande Magic>

The Magic of Lavender

On my first day in France, I went in search of lavender fields to paint. Little did I know how much lavender would influence my art over the next five years.

Joy;s Garden colorful abstract landscape painting
Joy’s Garden, oil

The Magic of Lavender

The full story is in my book, Joy’s Garden Embrace the Mountain. Color has always been a major inspiration to my painting, though recently lavender is taking a leading role.

Not to spoil the story in the book, lavender played a large role on my pastel palette years ago when I first began painting in the late 70s. Working my way around the spectrum, over time my interests ebbed and flowed according to my emotional whims.

I have always believed it to be my role as an artist to paint how something “feels,” rather than how it “looks.” When I begin a painting, I do not usually have an image of how it will look at the start. Instead, it is a feeling that tells me I must paint to satisfy something deep inside.

lavender fields painting
Lavande Magic, oil

Lavande Magic

The urge to paint brings me back to the first day in France ~ when I felt I simply must paint this … The painting finally complete, Lavande Magic, has lived up to its name. Perhaps you can see how Joy’s Garden (top of the page), is part of the landscape from Lavande Magic ~ up into the foreground?

Of course, there’s lots of symbolism in these images. For starters, what was off in the distance five years ago ~ is now front and center. And all those swirling lavender fields? Those are the swirls of creative energy moving about. Can you see how they are all moving in unison? No static.

And there’s a picture story about the villa in the painting. It’s in the book too.

Joy’s Garden Embrace the Mountain

I hope you will see something of yourself in the story of Joy’s Garden. I hope you will feel the colors too, as you see the paintings and read the stories of how they are connected to dreams and the everyday stuff of life.  I am thrilled to announce that Joy’s Garden Embrace the Mountain  is out in print! You can order a copy, along with the CreativSOUP Journal.

Click on over and Peek Inside the Book>

And I invite you to see the paintings from the book in the Joy’s Garden Gallery. 



Healing Arts to Help Victims of School Shootings

To aid victims of school violence, Joy’s Garden healing art project encourages painting to promote processing trauma.

The Painting Lesson Virtual Studio is FREE, as well as the CreativSOUP Facebook Group. Healing art posters will be donated by artist Dorothy Fagan to victims. for information

My heart is breaking for these kids at the school in Florida. Watching the violent attack on the news, rattled me to the core. I can’t get it off my mind. How many young people, 3,000 at that one school alone, were traumatized. We have a whole generation of young people growing up in a war zone.

Watching them, I felt my own traumas flooding back all over again. And it makes me keenly aware of just how much healing this generation of young people will need. How to even begin?

I received an email from a fellow artist this morning, Brainard Carey writes, “We face the reality of another school shooting in the US, the 18th, by expert accounts, in the calendar year. That’s a rate of over 2.5 per week so far in 2018. Atrocities against children. As we all struggle to deal with this latest disruption of our already fragile sense of security, art can offer a path to healing for so many.

“Art is a language through which that which cannot be spoken is portrayed. Art heals, it exposes, it decries and demands. Art disturbs and disrupts our comfort zones and requires that we re-calibrate how we encounter the world.

“As an artist, you are the voice box, so to speak, of a world that is full of indescribable cruelty. You bring beauty and truth, you offer an unedited look inside the mess that is humanity.

“The responsibility you carry is great. The burden is heavy. Do not leave the details that may be an obstacle to getting your message out to the world to chance. Find the path to optimum exposure and pursue it relentlessly.

“Absorb your community and let it absorb you, dive deep in the waters of those who share your spark and passion. Let them hold you up as you, in turn, hold them up. No one with a message so powerful that it compels them to follow a career path as precarious as this can possibly exist without a village. Find yours and hold tight.

“Make art that speaks loudly to your journey, your beliefs, your convictions, and to the way you want to see the world changed forever. Do not for one moment let anyone tell you that this is an impossible endeavor. Find a way. Insist.

“As we reel in the losses that will become more clear over the coming days, it is impossible to ignore how fleeting life itself really is. What are you waiting for? Do it today. Take charge and make your future one that you want to live. Make it count. Fall and fail but do not give up.

“Remember the words of George Bernard Shaw:

“A life spend making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

“Do something. Your moment is now.”

Something clicked into place as I read his last words. Immediately I knew what to do with the paintings on my easel. Unlike anything I’ve painted before, this new series is colorful, whimsical, and joyful.

inspirational art as prayer poster
Falling Stars Wash Dreams Ashore

The titles are longer than ever before. Titles like, “Prayers Go Up, Stars Light the Sky”, and “Falling Stars Wash Dreams Ashore,” and “My Heart Rising Radiates Passion & Dreams.” And the posters and wall decals with those prayers and artwork that have been floating in my mind ~ suddenly have a destination and purpose.

inspirational wall decal poster
Wall Decal or Poster, Prayers Go Up, Stars Light the Sky

I am donating Free Virtual Studio here on The Painting Lesson to anyone who wishes to use it. The CreativSOUP Facebook Group is Free to participate as well.

In addition, I have set up Joy’s Garden on my art website and will donate a poster for every three sold to anyone you name. Learn more and participate in the Joy’s Garden Healing Arts Project.

If you prefer, you can donate to the project by sponsoring.