This is the oil version of the prestudy in pastel of Louise Brooks, silent movies actress and flapper girl from the 1920s – 1930s. Earlier in 2014 I did a first portrait of her, called ‘Louise Brooks – 05-05-14’. On the photo I liked her eyebrows on different Heights and the ambivalent look in general. That is why these features called for my style of cubism.
Jan van Eyck’s motto was ‘Als Ich Kan’ (everything (or as) I can) and in this painting I employed all my skills with regard to color at that time. Next to tonal rhythyms I focused on the relations between colors because basically that is all what color is about.
One color is not a color but two have a relation. One can say about the other: I am cooler and vice versa warmer. If you have three colors then the amount of relations rises to 9. A relation can show both a cool and warm aspect, dependant on the ajacent color to the left or right. If, for example, green is bordered by blue on the right, it will appear to look warmer but when it is ajacent to orange on the left it looks cooler at the same time. I love playing around with these so-called simultaneous contrasts because they tend to live things up.
A difficult aspect of mastering art is the understanding color saturation. A color can look very dull or bright. Next to the physics of color and light, complementary colors can be mixed in order to affect the brightness and turn them into grayed or browned varieties. That is quite alright. Most of the colors we see around is, are dull and strong, bright colors are signal colors and we do not want to look at strong signals all the time. One may develop photokeratitis.
In other words, strong colors tend to wear out the eye quickly and must be employed carefully and in low doses next to dull ones. In this one I played around with the saturational degrees as well. An example of this, is the saturated orange plaines in the face and the more dull varieties of the same color on her shoulder. The strange thing I discovered is that brighter colors appear to be lighter than their dull counterparts but that is mre optical illusion. When you squint your eyes they show the same tonal values. That is why the more saturated pink plain on her shoulder does not fall out of place from a tonal point of view in relation to the browner orange plains surrounding it. It is a kind of eye-teaser.
I can spend a lifetime telling about my passion for colors but as is the case with relations in general, there is no end to development in them. They all seem so relative as is the case with relations in general. Must be the etymology. I have to learn much more and I in fact I did in the years after this painting. I still like this painting though.
Oil on linen (60 x 80 x 1 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers
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