Sunday, January 30, 2011

Untitled 58


Pastel on Sennelier LaCarte, approx. 2.5" x 5".

I'm enjoying renewing my perpetual fascination with color, via these little pastels. (Especially as I'm experiencing a lot of frustration and lack of resolution in the oil + cold wax paintings lately.) These small pastels are not consciously landscapes, but the format, which seems to be the main format that excites me, has what seems to feel like a horizon line.

I like to think of these minis as little jewels, with their bright sparks of color. (And when I frame them, I always use a white mat and a thin black contemporary frame, so as not to compete with their own color identities.)

I'm currently fascinated by working on pure instinct as to color--I just grab whatever "feels right" at that moment. This applies to both the main colors as well as the accent colors. Sometimes the painting fails, but that's what's exciting--to see why it works, after the fact, or why it didn't work, when during the process it was unconscious, just a sense, an urge to grab orange, or turquoise, or what have you.

(I'm not doing a conscious analysis with color theory to see whether it "worked," or "didn't work." One--I, or you, or whoever wants to--certainly could do that, but for me often it kills the magic, whether the analysis is done before or after the painting. For me, it's usually just about how it feels. However, this is not to say that there aren't occasional times in other kinds of paintings that I won't analytically use color theory, or that occasionally I'll suddenly look at a previously done painting and realize with a shock that it had turned out to have, say, a primary color scheme even though I hadn't been aware of it at the time.)


From Gadjo's second day with us. This cracked me up--Gadjo looked to me here like a baby koala attached to its (ahem) mother.



In India. The bees seem to be enjoying these sweets (called laddus) more than the customers are.


More art on my website: jalapfaff.com

9 comments:

Sonya Johnson said...

Very cool. I so enjoy reading about your thought process in these paintings, as well, and love the idea of a really intuitive process to choosing colors. And with these small paintings, even if it doesn't work, it's no big deal. And then there's the instant gratification of working in pastel....

I literally laughed out loud when I read the caption for the baby Gadjo picture. The very serious look on The Husband's face also made me laugh.

ELFI said...

le pastel est mieux qu'un exercice...
et les boules de douceur sont trop tentantes.. pas bon pour la ligne!

Jala Pfaff said...

Hi Sonya - Very true, what you've said about working in pastel in this way. I don't feel too bad about tossing little paintings in the trash when necessary. And the instant gratification and intense pure color are what make me love pastel.
The Husband often wears a scowl, I'm afraid... but the way Gadjo was positioned there just kills me.

ELFI - Merci pour votre visite. Oui, je considere que ce pastel est fini, pas simplement un exercise. Et vous pouvez avoir toutes ces boules de douceur--ironiquement, je ne les aime pas du tout!

SamArtDog said...

Another little gem!

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

It DOES have a landscape feel to it with a nice high horizon line. I think that there's a lot to be said for following urges without browbeating things to death with over-analyzing things. This works and it feels like magic. I think the Surrealists did some "automatic" painting to get in touch with their psyches. Some magic-killers would have plenty to say about that, too. I say, GO FOR IT! (Just say "NO" to magic-killers!)

Caroline said...

It does look like a wee landscape and what is interesting is that I can see waves coming in over a dark beach area. I love the pastel layer over what looks like an under painting though you could be working on a coloured back ground. You are posting the painting at almost it's real size and I am amazed at how you are able to work so small. It would be brilliant to see one of these framed up, do you have a large size matt around the image?

suzanneberry said...

i am enchanted with this series jala. your narrative is just as pleasing. and the koala is too cute with the hubs. i look forward to whatever you do, this is among my very favorites. just wonderful!!

Wm Cook said...

I did a painting like this a while back (1977). Motivation was totally different, but it's the same painting. Very nice. My eyes bugged out when I saw yours. Also those 8 panels I saw in your archives are where I am right now in many ways (dots and dashes). I'll be exploring this blog some more tomorrow. Til the future, Wm

Jala Pfaff said...

Hi Sam - Thank you. Now what have you been up to over there on your side of the road while it's been in the negative numbers?

Hi Katherine - Thank you. "Just say no to magic-killers!" Ha! Love it.

Hi Caroline - Thanks much. I will try to get a pic of one of them (one from last year or so) matted and framed so you can get an idea. It is a colored paper (La Carte) and it doesn't really feel that small to me in terms of ability to work on it, don't know why. :)

Hi Wm - "The same painting." Guess we were channeling each other back then? ;) Glad you also liked the 8-panel white paintings. Cheers.