Newberry, Red Sky over Texas, pastel

Newberry, Red Sky over Texas, 2020, pastel, 13x18"
Newberry, Red Sky over Texas, 2020, pastel, 13×18″

Just signed this and my eyes are still buzzing. The red paper is bright and intense. Color theory is difficult enough by itself but when red paper is thrown into the mixed it electrocutes my brain. Van Gogh writes about what this feels like: “…sheer work and calculation, with one’s mind utterly on the stretch, like an actor on the stage in a difficult part, with a hundred things at once to think of in a single half-hour.” The opposite (complimentary) of red is green. Using that guide the brightest light on the clouds is white mixed with green, to create an intense vibration with the red paper. The brightest light is center left. As the light diminishes the further from the source the highlights shift to cool yellow, warm yellow, to pale ochre, to peach, then finally to pink (further in the distance).

Realism in art is a bit mechanical and scientific, it is quite important and some of my best friends are realists, but it tends to diminish imagination and passion. One way artists step out of literal realism is to come up with imaginative subjects of putting things together that originally were not there. The other way is expand color theory, it spices up what might be a mundane subject, and it pushes the boundaries of what colors can to the eye. For instance this storm-like sky, might be peaceful realistically painted but throw in the red paper and the sky becomes dangerous, exciting, and explosive. In a way the red paper and color theory may might be the best way to convey the frightening ominous brewing storm.

The feeling of signing this is almost too much to bear. My brain is overloaded with too much calculation; my eyes are have been worked and tested to their limits; and my emotions are overflowing the beautiful clouds and the synergy of it all coming together.

Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 10/15/2020

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