Saturday, September 26, 2009

“World peace through better color”
-Alyn Carlson
That’s one of the things I put on my business cards and most people seem to get it. I’ve watched so many of my clients and friends walk into my studio or home and break out in a grin. They lovingly run their fingertips over colored pencils, hold a paint tube in an achy palm, and with their eyes caress swatches of color aid paper. They usually give me a happy glazed look and say something like “You must be so happy working with all this color.” Actually I am.

It was a rumble in my stomach for years. I took a 20 year break from making personal work and craved color so much it just started bubbling up in all my design. I found when I started a project the first thing I did was open the pantone swatch book and listen for direction. When the damm broke and I started making personal work again about 8 years ago, I floated around with an expression on my face similar to the Dalai Lama’s. So why do we walk around starving ourselves? Pick the softest palest taupe and avoid the sexy tomatoe bisque? Afraid? Of what?

One of my favorite rants on that subject is by David Batchelor in his slim little hot pink book, Chromophobia. The more western our thinking is, the more urban we get, the farther away from intense color we find ourselves. Is color vulgar, dirty, primitive? Why should we bother to even consider this right now with all this economic malaise? Shouldn’t we lay low and keep our heads down, no changes, stay as beige as possible, and make ourselves as quiet and small as we can?

Because color = joy. What I love and am moved by every day, abstract expressionist Charles Seliger’s Ways of Nature, my little spring green Roseberry Winn vase, and even my carved bakelite bangles, feed me. I know responsible austerity is wise right now but so is smiling every day.

Hey my demi god, Milton Glaser puts it so well “If you like Mozart and I like Mozart we really have something in common. So the likelihood of us killing each other has been diminished.”

Don’t you just love the color yellow?

Friday, September 25, 2009

As an actor, I find it helpful to do a little color study of the character I'm working on to help articulate who they are. My dear friend, director, and mentor, Pat Hegnauer got me started on this practice 10 years ago. We've collaborated often with these images, paired with her poetry. Here are a few I've created through the years- Stephanie from Tom Kepinski's Duet for One, Flora from Tennessee Williams 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, Lady Ninjo from Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, Dull Gret from Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, Mrs. Malaprop from Sheridan's The Rivals, Pope Joan from Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, Constance from Shakespeare's King John, Sister Angelita from Ethan Phillips' Penguin Blues, and the fabulous Molly Bloom from James Joyce and Sheila Walshes' Molly and James.