Saturday, January 30, 2010

Because you need a break from yellow

3 ft. x 3 ft. (one of my preferred sizes for oil abstracts), oil on linen.


As many of you know, I am incredibly moved by all Rothko's later work. I have been experimenting with approaches to try to, in some way, feel what he may have felt doing these sort of paintings, and imitating what may have been some of his techniques (I don't know, and am not sure that anyone does for certain). At the same time, I try to always paint as non-toxic as possible, which for me means, in part, eschewing solvents (I think I read somewhere that he used a lot to achieve his effects). I use none except for a little turpenoid for the "staining the canvas" first step--which I do outside on a nice day, so as not to have the fumes in the studio--and a little for cleaning brushes. (And anyway, I have tried some solvents and mediums and they always seem to backfire on me, so I gave them up. But, never say never--who knows what I will or won't be using in the future.)

I continue to feel completely captivated by color abstractions, and I imagine I always will. Oddly, apparently Rothko said that all these types of paintings that he did (the ones he's most famous for, that look like this) had nothing to do with color, only with emotion. For me it's both--certainly evoking a particular emotion or emotions, but definitely about color for its own sake.

Isn't it strange when you feel such a powerful attraction to someone's work (for me, Rothko and Diebenkorn, for example) that you feel you could die happy if you could somehow crawl right into one of the paintings and become it...and you show a book of that artist's work to a friend, and they give it a rather bored glance and give you a weird look, like, Nah, not my cup of tea, and why does this even interest you?

It continually amazes me, why as individuals we are so drawn to some work and not at all to others. I suppose it's a good thing, though, or else there would probably be only one or two artists in the world.

Comfy furry Golden vegetable. (Mojito.)

More art on my website:


SamArtDog said...

i love this red red red (with some orange)! yummy!
is it new?

Jala Pfaff said...

Hi Sam - I had a feeling that red-loving you might like this one! It's new in that it got a new and final layer the other day, yes. It had had a couple layers before and sat around in the corner for I think a year before I decided I wanted to try something new with it.

loriann said...

Wow Jala, talk about vibration! This red one is gorgeous with its intense yet oddly soothing vibration...and so Rothko.
I know exactly what you mean about sharing an amazing painting with a friend and being on completely different levels of understanding and passion about it. And yes it is a good thing.

eLIZabeth Floyd said...

Lovely color fields ... I can believe that Rothko was painting "emotion" with his color field paintings b/c the Rothko chapel in Houston is full of dark black & blue color field paintings, and I think when he was painting them, he was going through some of his most dark times before he died.

Jala Pfaff said...

Hi Loriann - Cool that you find it to be the way it feels to me too--like it should be overpowering with all that hot color, yet it feels somewhat soothing to me too.

Hi eLIZabeth - Thanks for all your recent comments! My friend is doing well post-surgery and my back continues to improve too.
Someday I will have to deal with Texas just to the extent of going to the Rothko Chapel. I've seen photos but photos is one thing and being there would be quite another...Have you seen it?
I know some people theorize that his oil paintings got dark toward the end of his life...but I think I read that his acrylics (or maybe I have the oils/acrylics backwards on this) were bright and colorful up till the end, so who knows...

Anonymous said...

Jala, this one is truly lit from within! It hums. Whether one is drawn to abstract art or not, it is hard to imaging a person not having some visceral reaction to this.
Now as for the dog, is he a Rothko type, or more of a traditionalist who prefers milkbones?

suzanneberry said...

Another incredible piece! I find myself drawn in to each painting and feel they say so much. I'm not sure what that really means but that's how your work makes me feel.

And your photos from India! I'm without words. Beautiful. said...

I like this piece and your yellow part 3 painting below. Did you use cad orange?

Jala Pfaff said...

Hi Donald, thank you! I like what you said. Now, Mojito, he is more a pop-art type, I would say, if I had to choose a genre for him. And he must have his organic, all-natural dog biscuits.

Hi Suzanne, and thank you so much. Cool comment.

Hi Bill, thanks. I used a little Cad O in the orange-stripe area of the big red painting, but not in the yellow triptych.