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

color field paintings

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?

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Author: Dorothy Fagan

Experimenter, gardener, grandmother ... Dorothy Fagan plays with creativity, dreams, and paint every day.