I thought it would be fun to explore some post-impressionism art, especially the use of color and the use of the brush strokes to capture the feeling of the artists of that period in wool.
The art Post-Impressionism era was in the late 1800 to early 1900’s. Some of the most notable artists would include Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Seurat. These artists rejected the realistic use of color and small brush strokes of the impressionistic painters of Monet and Renoir.
Post-Impressionists continued to use vivid colors and used a thick application of paint. These artists distorted both the images and included an arbitrary use of color. The sunflowers below were painted by Van Gogh. Notice the wide brush strokes.
This is my interpretation drawn by Janet Conner
How do we translate this artistic style to rug hooking? The areas to discuss are width of strip, use of color, and use of light.
First the easiest way to translate the wide brush strokes would be with the use of a wide cut of wool. A wider cut is preferred for the translation of brush strokes but a smaller cut with be fine to translate the color use of post-impressionism.
THE USE OF COLOR
This is the most challenging part of a piece. You can basically use ALL COLORS or few colors in the overall completed rug. While you do not need to decide on everything pick one or two main colors. I took each motif separately and hooked as if it were the only image on the canvas. Flowers can be hooked in one base color natural colors but there is a variation and “poison” used in each image. Use a lot of color. Take your color wheel and go to an extreme analogous range of that base color.
As an example I have chosen the image of my rug Autumn Bloom rug, designed by Jane McGown Flynn, a Honey Bee Hive pattern. Note that each flower is different but linked. This is by design in the use of varied colors and “poison”.
The colors used for the Echinacea went from red to just shy of green, basically halfway around a color wheel. Here is the helpful hint: use the concept; light, bright, dark and dull. Also use spots and solids. You will use many colors and it is a great use of all the small pieces we have in our stash. This gives a large image life.
The Chinese Lanterns use orange, yellows, and purple(veins). The large leaves belong to the Chinese Lanterns and are a yellow green with a few other colors added for effect. The other leaves are intentionally hooked darker to recede into the background.
The bottom flower was completed last as a Mum type of flower. As I had worked the purple side of the color wheel for the Echinacea I went with analogous purple to orange(peach) for the Mum. Notice that this flower is not really defined but the color catches the eye not the light placement or detail.
The next step to consider is the light placement. Use all your training from fine shading and incorporate it in these motifs. The difference here is that you are not concerned with the color but the value. If you want the light to show use a light value on the top pedal under it dark value. The color does not matter. This is where you can have fun or go crazy. Let your creative side flow. Every once in awhile put a strange color in just for the fun of it.
As one last note on color. Incorporate the colors in more than one motif so your eye will flow from one motif to another. I used the dark red and orange in all the flowers. You will also see the leaves have the same brown veins.
The hardest part was to choose a background. I went from a peach with a little wash of dark peach to this combination of blue. I found a Van Gogh painting that had a medium dark background against a medium dark painting. It was perfect. The image I wanted to convey was dappled shadows. It took a true solid background to make the motifs stand out. It also took larger “brush strokes” to calm down the movement.
My final piece ended up all color. You could absolutely make it anything you want. Just be creative...
And have fun!
Here is a quick summary of our teachers. Details are under the Eastwood School tab in the main menu. Hope you can join us!
Let me start by saying I hate Picasso. He was a bully, a woman-hater, a bad husband and father, and jerk by what I can tell. But, he did some things right.
I like his early work, and once in a while, you can find a quote like this one that is worthwhile to hold on to.
My work is usually full of great chroma and contrast. But I am just coming out of a rough time when not only did I not hook very much, but color did not appeal to me. I even found myself dressing differently. I live in the South and there is color everywhere, except my closet. Lots of beige, black, and gray.
Things are looking up now but I still see less color in my work. The pieces seem fine, but not what I did before. Not what I think I really am. I am dyeing with Cushing dyes instead of ProChem. I guess I still have some healing to do. But my features - my smile - is coming back. And soon will the brights and lights. Enough of the darks and dulls.
Don't worry, Be Happy-
Did you ever wonder why all SALE signs are red? Did you even for a split second be surprised by the red title I used? Color definitely talks to us. A choice in color can make our work fly or hide. The right placement and amount of color can make an immense difference.
So let's just look at a few colors and what they can do.
Brown, Gray, and Sky Blue
This is post 9/11 New York. The color choices tell us what we want to believe. Browns bring out emotions of stability and comfort. Brown is used to warm the scene,and give it stability. It is the "down to earth" color. But it also suppresses emotion - like we shouldn't get too comfortable.
Gray is a neutral- it quiets and composes. It also can depress a mood. But it is often used in advertising to convey maturation or timelessnesss. New York is still standing.
Blue is always known as the color of loyalty. Sky blue actually can inspire trust and brings out the sense of freedom. Thank you to Laura Kenyon for letting us borrow her work.
Orange, Red, and Yellow
We already talked about the sky blue. Along with freedom, it can evoke joy like in Ann Rudman's little friend.
Yellow is the color of happiness and optimism. That shouldn't be news to anyone but too much yellow can cause anxiety, especially if it is a bright yellow. She used bits of the high chroma yellow, but her gold background is still a yellow. Far from being overstimulating, it actually does induce relaxation. Pay attention to wall colors, we use a lot of creamy yellows and gold in our homes and businesses-the color of wealth!
Red is used by advertisers to draw attention and inspire action, thus SALE! We all know that red is for passion, either anger or love. It is such a strong color that it is often used with a blue or orange tinge, not a true primary. It is an energizing color but can be overbearing and be perceived as violent.
Orange is an interesting color; the combination of yellow and red. It is adventurous and optimistic. Orange is the color of encouragement. Advertisers know that it appeals to young people. It is used to express freedom and draw attention. Too much orange can denote self-indulgence and insincerity.
We love color! That is why we are selling hand-dyed wool on the Seaside website now. It is the same wool we have at shows, so you already know the quality of the Dorr wool we use as a base. Keep checking back at the site for new wool as we replace sold pieces.
Note: This is a reprint of the latest newsletter. If you haven't subscribed, add your email address to the bottom of the home page and we will send one about once a month.
Debra -In Living Color (remember where that phrase came from?)