Colors Should Sing January 9, 2018

Red Gerbera Daisies – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

“The beauty and mystery of this world only emerges through affection, attention, interest and compassion . . . open your eyes wide and actually see this world by attending to its colors, details and irony.”
― Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red

For as long as I can remember, I have loved color and picture making. When I was a tiny girl–long before I knew that people could buy paints and paint pictures–I would sit at my grandmother’s feet, as she patched colorful scraps of fabric together to make quilts. I enjoyed sorting through the left-over materials and cutting out the images and the colors that most excited me. Then, I’d place my clippings side by side, reassembling them until I found the arrangement that simply seemed to fit. Even as a very young child, I experienced the alchemy of color, and color has become my life’s work.

Blue Bud Vase – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

My art has a carefree look, and it probably appears that painting is effortless for me. But that is not the case. I am extremely particular about what I produce. I want my paintings to be more than mere images–I want them to speak, and I want my very colorful pieces to be a party.

Snow Orchard – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

“It felt as though the whole globe was dressed in snow. Like it has pulled it on, the way you pull on a sweater. Next to the train line, footprints were sunken to their shins. Trees wore blankets of ice.
As you may expect, someone has died.” ― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

But all of life is not a party, and I expect my art to have enough depth to tell all of my stories–the more somber ones, as well as the feasts. I currently live on the New Jersey Shore, and this entire area was recently besieged by a brutal snow storm. I usually enjoy watching it snow, but this time, the snow was deep and relentless. I didn’t get out of my house for days, but I spent a great deal of time looking out my windows and tracing the shadows that had fallen across the ground. I felt the need to paint the shadows, and I thought about how shadows are part of life.

The Rooster – Little Napoleon – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

“Brush strokes write poetry harmonized through the cords of an artist’s imagination.
Color, contrast, simple compassion splattered across paper leaves tainted with the melody of the silent wind.
Gasping, grasping, simply glancing at the souls of those who were not blessed with the visionary sight of inspirational artistry.” ― Laura S. Al Bas

If used correctly, color can be a brilliant communicator. It can sing a sad song, but it can also dance a jig. In the same way that I don’t expect myself to always feel the same way, I do not try to box my art into one specific look. I paint according to my mood and according to the experiences of my day. When I paint, I only have one universal requirement: I want my colors to interact and to comingle in ways that speak and excite.

Janis Joplin – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

Quotes About Color

“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? no. Just as one can never learn how to paint.” ― Pablo Picasso

“Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours; let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow.”
― Kahlil Gibran

“White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white. ” ― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

“Color directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another purposively, to cause vibrations in the soul.” ― Wassily Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art

“How do you know, when you think blue — when you say blue — that you are talking about the same blue as anyone else?

You cannot get a grip on blue.

Blue is the sky, the sea, a god’s eye, a devil’s tail, a birth, a strangulation, a virgin’s cloak, a monkey’s ass. It’s a butterfly, a bird, a spicy joke, the saddest song, the brightest day.

Blue is sly, slick, it slides into the room sideways, a slippery trickster.

This is a story about the color blue, and like blue, there’s nothing true about it. Blue is beauty, not truth. ‘True blue’ is a ruse, a rhyme; it’s there, then it’s not. Blue is a deeply sneaky color.”
― Christopher Moore, Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art

“Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.”
― Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give to You: A Sourcebook of Joy and Encouragement


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