"Stormy Sea" by Sharon Hart
Last year prior to joining the glitzeratti at the vernissage at Art Basel Miami, I delivered a painting to an art patron in Miami. Much to her delight it was a monochromatic painting in the identical color that the Pantone Color Institute, had just announced was the “color of the year.” I knew the color as French Ultramarine Blue, whereas Pantone elected to term it “ Blue Iris,” or No. 18-3943. Coincidentally throughout the year I painted several mono-chromatic paintings in the color of which Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute said: “Blue Iris brings together the dependable aspects of blue, underscored by a strong, soul-searching purple cast. Emotionally, it is anchoring and meditative with a touch of magic.”
December first seems to be open season for magazines, newscasts, and even blogs to present “The Annual Best of ... ” or predictions for the year to come. I , therefore, was reminded that every year the Pantone Color Institute chooses a "color of the year", essentially as a media –grabbing exercise. Considering the state of the economy, I pondered what color Pantone would seize upon as “The” Color for 2009. Review of past trends gave me some clues to their thinking process. Here is their previous panel of choices:
Cerulean Blue: Chosen for the millennium for its calming zen state of mind.
Fuchsia Rose: A reversal from the previous year, more exciting, more feminine and sexy.
True Red: Recognizes the impact of 9/11 with a patriotic hue.
Aqua Sky: A cool blue meant to restore hope and serenity.
Tiger Lily: Acknowledges the hipness of orange, with a touch of exoticism
Blue Turquoise: Another reversal to a calming shade.
Sand Dollar: A neutral color that expresses concern about the economy
Chili Pepper: Chosen for its pizazz and sophistication and its hint of ethnic taste.
Blue Iris: A mix of blue and purple that suggests dependability and magic
Pantone is considered by some in the decorating community to be a “Color Authority”. There is a video entitled “Color Watch 2009” that addresses how Pantone’s Executive Director chooses palettes and identifies future color trends, stating that they draw their inspiration from artists, museums, and the economy.
Prior to the Pantone’s announcement, I playfully discussed the topic with a couple of friends, as it provided some light relief to other more pressing issues such as the global economic condition. Someone suggested that green would be a logical choice, considering the focus on organic foods, the environment, and money. Another individual opted for bamboo, as the Chinese influence on the west is becoming an increasingly dominating consideration, both on products, as well as in banking. I, however, suggested that considering the economy, people will opt for comfort foods such as Kraft macaroni and cheese ---a peculiar shade of yellow-orange and that with the focus on optimism that was reflected in our recent elections, yellow-orange would be the most logical color for 2009.
Much to my surprise, today I discovered that Pantone announced that 14-0848 Mimosa, yellow as the color of the year for 2009. Their rational from the press release follows forthwith:
“In a time of economic uncertainty and political change, optimism is paramount and no other color expresses hope and reassurances more than yellow.
“The color yellow exemplifies the warmth and nurturing quality of the sun, properties we as humans are naturally drawn to for reassurance,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Mimosa also speaks to enlightenment, as it is a hue that sparks imagination and innovation.”
Artists have long used color to direct the mood of the viewer, in addition to being used because of cultural symbolism. A good example of this can be found in the colors traditionally selected by icon writers. Here is a brief synopsis of the meanings ascribed to the colors often used in Christian religious icons:
* Gold symbolizes divine light.
* Blues are associated with heaven, mystery and the mystical life
* Red is linked with heat, passion, love, beauty, life ,
* Orange-red, associated with fire, suggests fervor and spiritual purification.
* Purple & crimson is associated with royalty and the divine. It is the symbol of supreme power.
* White is associated with the divine world, purity, innocence, and is sometimes used with what Orthodoxy calls "the uncreated light,"
* Green represents the earth's vegetation, fertility, youth, hope and freshness, and martyrdom
• Brown is affiliated with poverty, humility, bare earth, dust, inert matter and all that is transient and perishable.,
It will be interesting to explore how artists will use color in 2009. Although “experts” such as Eisenman may suggest that we respond to tides such as economic conditions to determine our palette choices, I would suggest our choices are not that volatile. I would also suggest that artists are not that vulnerable and suggestive to marketing influences, but are more apt to be the fulcrum by which consumer choices are directed.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
"Stormy Sea" by Sharon Hart