Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Poetics of Subtle

There are artists who love color. By color I mean bright, strong, vibrant, luscious color.
They will put a color next to a color to create dynamic, active, energizing art works. I am not in that category. I am not into bright, vibrant, juicy colors. All I have to do is take a look in my closet, my home and my zen gardens to see that I like things around me that are more subdued and subtle and minimal in color. I prefer textures and nature-based objects. I love weathered, rusty, worn, wabi- sabi stuff. I have found other artists who are also into subdued, subtle colors.
Under all these quiet, subdued, subtle surfaces there is a pulsing beat of old blood, old memories, with waves of human feeling that are universal and call to me every time.

Thomas Meyers uses a combination of collage and drawing. He is exploring visual communication, from ancient writings to modern times. You can find more of his subtle, layered collages at his website here.
subtle: adj. a distinction so delicate or precise as to be difficult to analyze or describe. Subtle can create mystery.

Eric Adama works with mixed media on paper. He has a blog called CERULEAN which you can find here, where you will find more of his beautifully textured, subdued color paintings.
subdued: adj. (color) that is soft and restrained.
Subdued, subtle colors can be intimate.

Novie Trump works with ceramic sculpture and draws her inspiration from relics and ancient stories. Her work has a certain understated elegance as she uses subdued colors and subtle textures. You can find more of her beautiful work at her website here and her blog here.

Brent Harvey uses a variety of mixed media for his paintings. His limited palette gives his work a heightened perception of whatever he is trying to convey. You can find more of his fabulous paintings at his blog here and his website here.

Eva Francova works in a variety of mediums, from altered digital imagery to printmaking to ink drawings. But the overall connection in all her work is her subdued color, and limited palette.
Above is one of her digital images.

Above is one of Eva's ink drawings. You can find more of her delicate, poetic works at her blog I LOVE BLACK AND WHITE here, and also at her website here.


Roberta Marks works with collage, painting and assemblage. She explores the traces and vestiges of her journey from the past to the present. Her work appears simple with limited palettes, but they are actually delicately complex revealing subtle explorations of her/our world. Her website has more work here.

Come to my quietness
I shall cover you with it, like
a white sheet that has blown all day in
the sun, like a mountain lake
filled with spring, it shall slip over you.
--- Diane de Prima

51 comments:

katie said...

a beautiful and tranquil post , as artists it's so interesting how we gravite towards a color pallete that feels like "home". I am one who uses lots of color, i crave it even though i occasionally stretch myself by working monochromatic.

your work is beautiful and thank you, i appreciate learning of the artists you mentioned that are all new to me.

Studio Sylvia said...

Donna I found a tranquil read here. I love black and white, with accents of colour, yet our house abounds in neutrals, my wardrobe predominantly black, my personal jewellery silver with colour accents. Yet much of the jewellery I make is coloured enamel. I will fluctuate between the neutrals and colour, depending on my mood.
'there is a pulsing beat of old blood, old memories, with waves of human feeling that are universal’ - This is a wonderful clause which is evocative.

BLACK AND WHITE said...

Amazing post, Donna! Thanks for membership in good community. Wonderful works!

ELFI said...

très belle sélection d'artistes..
je trouve ces couleurs reposantes..
et les thèmes aussi..moi qui suis excitée..ca calme.
brent harvey me fait penser à tapiès..

lyle baxter said...

donna, as always your post starts my day in a calm and peaceful way! And I love having more places to see such interesting things. I like your colorways so much but as you have seen I cant stay away from the brights!, still trying for "less" . thanks

Frivolitea said...

What an interesting post. I love your artwork so I am eager to explore the links you gave to artists whose work you like.

Regina Dwarkasing said...

Hi Donna,

Though I am a lover of colour, I also like to come back to black and white and subdued sometimes for its tranquility. I love the examples and (to me) introduction of new artists in your posts, thank you for that also,
Regina, St. Maarten DWI

ArtPropelled said...

Donna, this is exactly where I need to be today..... feeling the quietness of this post washing over me. I've visited and enjoyed all the links and am now lingering in the quietness of your collages. I love Harmony in your sidebar as well as the one at the top of this post.

Barry said...

D Yes the quiet 'contrast' often shouts the loudest in terms of our spirit. Thanks. B

Missouri Bend Paper Works said...

Hi Donna,

Beautiful post! Thank you also for introducing me to these other artists. Your blog is always an inspiration!

Best wishes
Patti

Anna Mavromatis said...

the definition for peace:
freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility;
mental calm;

That's exactly what visiting and reading your post gives me! I am so glad I am starting my day with such a beautiful feeling; thank you!!!

Leslie Avon Miller said...

"Come into my quietness..." Love that line. These beautiful works you have chosen illustrate your point so very well.
Your new pieces with scrolls are fabulous Donna.

George said...

A lovely, informative, and peace-rendering post, Donna. I am one of those painters who gets charged by intense colors. With each passing day, however, I find myself moving toward the the kind of quiet, natural colors and textures that you refer to. I think it must have something to do with the growing sense of wabi-sabi in my heart, coupled with the ever-present desire to keep letting go of things. Maybe it is time to let go of color intensity -- perhaps all intensity. Thanks for a wonderful post.

Chris Gray said...

To me...

...bright colours shout "Ooooooooo"...

...whilst more natural, subdued colours...

...breathe "Ahhhhhhhhhh".... :-)

Your works are always restful...

..that's why I like them so much.

Linda Rothchild Ollis said...

Donna,
Thank you for sharing the work of other amazing artists and your thoughts.
You have broadened my horizons and lifted my energy level.
Linda Rothchild Ollis

Jo Reimer said...

Hi Donna,
Thanks for the connection to these artists, most of whom are new to me. I love the quietness of these works, too, but I'm one of those people who makes use of lots of bright color, no matter what my aim. It's an expression of a natural voice, I think.
I once worked next to an artist at a workshop who kept trying to make a red collage/painting. She started with red all over the page and the next thing I knew it was all covered with the soft yellows, grays and whites of her signature style. She was disgusted with herself for being unable to make a bright painting but it was not to be, no matter how she tried.

"Work, work and work until what comes out is pure and is not influenced by anything but what is in my heart." (anonymous)

Cynnie said...

Subtle definitely brings with it a feeling of mystery for me. I love neutrals as well as color...especially a warm red:)
I love the work you showed here and thanks for the links for further inspiration. I just love reading your posts!
Cynthia Schelzig

bridgette said...

wonderful post donna. I find myself vacillating these days between subtle quiet earthy color and riotous colors. i'm not sure what's going on with me! But reading this post makes me want to return to the earthy, quietness...

Outside The Lines said...

Donna...another wonderful post with so many talented artists to check out...I shall have to visit often so I can spend time with each. I am so drawn to art that is subdued and subtle with limited palettes, and many times I have tried to work in that vein as well, but my work always comes out with bright colors it seems...it is a mystery to me....

Valerianna said...

I love the work of Novie Trump and Brent Harvey... and visiting here today gave me a lovely, peaceful moment...
thanks!

ger said...

Thanks for that subdued post... ;)

sukipoet said...

lovely works shown. the subtle, so difficult in a way to explore. today I had a Reiki sample treatment. This kind of body work is very subtle, yet powerful. As a writer (though not on my blog) I think my work was subtle. However, in painting etc i love color although I would like to make subtle work. The subtle works like these often feel more cerebral and sophisticated than work gushing with color. Thank you for the new artist to explore.

annell said...

I have to say, I like it all. Color in every form, bright, brilliant, dull, quiet. More to love. But I think you really have it right, if the artist wants to speak of texture, subtle color is best, it can be confusing, when we want to speak of color and of texture at the same time. It doesn't often work. Blessed is the artist who chooses what is right, at the right time and that is you. I guess it's all in what the artist is trying to say.

I will come again and check out the artists you have spoken of. Thank you.

Marie said...

Thanks for posting so many great links....will keep me busy on a Friday evening.
As you probably know, my art brims with color and busy-ness. I have come to respect what comes from my inner self, although it seems so unlike my outward personna. (My home & wardrobe are mostly nuetrals, although I do have some colorful accents.) My favorite collage artists are you & Leslie Avon Miller. You both are always very elegant in conveying the subltle, gracious and beautiful.
For now, I am trying to learn what the lessons of color and composition are trying to convey through me and am grateful that the world of art has a very big tent!

Poetic Artist said...

Wonderful post and I like soft and quiet at times yet some times I am bold and bright..So I suppose I am a switch hitter.LOL..
Thank you for the intro to the other artists.
Quiet.
Katelen

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

Such georgous works you've shared here. I can feel a big creative spurt coming on and this is totally inspiring. I especially like the work of Thomas Meyer...off the check the link out now!

Christine O'Brien said...

Such soothing and lovely works you've shared. So subtle and quiet, yet contemplative. What a nice start to my morning.

annell said...

I enjoyed learning of each of the artists on your post. Thank you so much.

neva gagliano said...

well now~~~i'm all in love again.
learning is thriving,
and the heart beats faster
when influence leaps through the eyes and changes the chemistry.

the sheet slips over,
the hand looks for paper.

Kim Hambric said...

I'm looking forward to seeing more from these artists and visiting their sites this afternoon.

I love color. I love quiet. I love subtle. I love vibrancy. I love beauty in all of its guises. Depends on my mood I guess. I am always in the mood for subtle and quiet after I visit your beautiful blog.

Don said...

Your posts always give me more and more to explore. Thanks!

Annie said...

Lovely post - I particularly love the quote at the very end.

Liza said...

"wabi- sabi stuff"
I love that!

STUNNING post!
absolutelty.
thank you for sharing this.

Susanne said...

I really enjoy your blog. This is a very interesting and inspiring post and I enjoyed all the links to other artists. I love color and most of my work is very oolorful however recently I have had a desire to move to a quieter palette especially in my abstract work and this post has fed into that desire. Thank you.

Hannah said...

Isn't it wonderful that we are able to explore the intricate subtleties and nuances of art through these many blogs? As a colorist, when I read your blog, I am able to step into an entirely different world; quiet, subdued, and tranquil. I feel like I've been able to travel to different country; one that feeds my soul in a whole different way from color.

Jackie Gardener said...

I read your post last night, and it stayed with me as I dreamt, and thought of it again first thing this morning. I use lots of black in my work, which is the perfect, subtle, quiet neutral for me. And while I use color, my palette is generally not bright, but grayed down, deep tones. They are so rich andcalming to me. Your words are a perfect match to your work. Just beautiful. Subtle. Thoughtful.

Sharmon Davidson said...

Donna, I love these subdued and subtle works, and am all the more fascinated by them because they're so different from my own. They're so inspiring, so lovely in their muted tones. Maybe one day I'll get there, but for now I just can't help putting color into my work. Thanks for the inspiration!

mansuetude said...

I am humbled here
and inspired. Our root is silent
and inside that one feels the ripples of world more gently and perhaps expresses thus.

It's a beautiful priveledge. Thank you

zendotstudio said...

wonderful post with lots of great links to explore and lots of food for thought. Yes subdued colours always have that quieting effect for me. And yet I mostly work in colour, often mixed and vibrant. Sometimes I will work in only black, white and grey and love it.

yes both your posts and art emanate a confident, quietude.

Deborah said...

Elegant and tranquil. And as always, inspiring.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Your new work is stunning and speaks completely of your love of quiet subtle color.

alteredbits said...

gorgeous post! thank you so much for all of the fantastic links, too. i'm with you on subtle (except for my adoration for red -- strange combo, subtle muted tones and red). such an inspirational post, donna.

Seth said...

A beautiful post with so many artist links to explore. And your words...weathered, rusty, worn, wabi-sabi...really resonate.

Rachelle said...

Donna, I love your earthy creations. They are very soothing, yet energetic.

I am one of those artists who love to work with and live with 'juicy' color! That is where I find my true joy and passion.

But every now and then, the eye and mind does need a resting spot in the grounding, earthen tones. Thank you for making them so beautifully accessible.

Rachelle

HeartFire said...

Donna,
Such a tranquil, peaceful posting. Wonderful images and words... I relish these subtle colors, the quietness, even though, I am definitely drawn to vivid colors when I create!
Thank you, and I will look further into the links too...
Delorse

Sea Angels said...

A lot to think about....reading your fabulous post... reading your sensitive replies....colour is such a basic motivation of the soul of the collective mind it moves in the depths of our very being, an original piece of magic special to each of us for all time, with each of us able to choose and play each colour cord to make our own inner music.
Hugs... soft greyed turquoise twinkly ones
Lynn xx

oneartistjournal said...

So beautifully written and such beautiful work you have presented to us Donna. I love both, I move from subtle, subdued, wethered, tranquil, to color, movement, dynamic visual energy, I need both. I am very much intrigued by the interplay of these contradictions within the boundries of one canvas. If I had to define myself I would say I am a 'color' person, nevertheless, I am so drawn to your site, fascinated by the mysterious.
XOXOrly

Lori Saul said...

While I do love color I am frequently drawn (perhaps as a rest and calming) to the more subtle shades and simplicity around me. When I create by hand or digitally I need to get back to quiet and subtle hues to balance out my internal palette. Your beautiful blog is such a place to reconnect - so many wonderful and expressive mixed media works. I look forward to visiting again!

Harnett-Hargrove said...

Where there is subtle, there is always texture. Thanks for the introductions! -J

grrl + dog said...

hmm.. a selection.
i like Eric's, but then I am off to see Roberta Marks's stuff too.

Leovi said...

Regarding the color I am rather impulsive and I like and I enjoy all sorts of colors, bright, vivid, dull, rusty, aged ... There are days when that color is not going to work and I am guided by the sensations. Others I am more attracted to a specific color. I enjoy researching and trying to add different colors to my work. I am a weather vane that goes where the wind blows, but never try to follow any fashion or any trend. Let's say I'm not very defined in art. My favorite of this post is Brent Harvey, who will find influences of Antoni Tapies.