There is something magical about the combination of the colors black and white. Something about it lures you in and captures your attention.
Just like black and white photography, truly there is nothing else like an old black and white photograph that speaks to the viewer. A quality black and white photo captures the essence of the souls in the photo focusing on the subject and composition. The same is true with an artist that paints in black and white. If an artists can capture the essence of the soul with the use of black and white paint on a canvas, he is a master painter.
There are arguments over the theory that black is a color or that it is the absence of color. If you are an artist, you see it as a color. At least, that is how I see it. There are 15 animals that are black and white. Some of the most beautiful, striking animals have both of these colors a zebra, a panda and a The Killer Whale, The Orca are just a few. So, to me, it is a color.
Decorators, designers, and artists use colors as a way to relate to someone and to bring out a thought, a personality, a style or a concept. Black is a very strong color relating to power, authority, and strength. White is a clean, pure, and peaceful color. Black and white paintings are clearly a play of opposites. They make a classy combination. Together they are a powerful connection creating a sense of completion and complexity. Working with the theory of opposites, the two colors create such a simple, profound statement. Black and white paintings to me communicate a sense of depth and a sense of mystery.
There is one of my favorite abstract artists that certainly nailed it with the use of black and white, Franz Kline.
Franz Kline actually called himself, the “Black and white man.”
Kline was trained in traditional art, illustrating and drafting.
After years of painting portraits and landscapes, Kline evolved into his own personal abstract style. At forty, he had his first one-man show. At this time, he had finally mastered the black and white abstracts style he had been searching for his whole life as an artist. I study Kline’s large black and white abstracts and his sketches over and over. I spend time observing the use of space both negative and positive looking at the how they interact with each other. I am inspired by the large brush strokes and specific use of where color is placed. One thing I love about Kline’s work, is he that followed his own rules for composition.
He created his own boundaries.
Some of his sketches were actually drawn on telephone pages. I can relate because recently I have been sketching on any kind of paper I can get my hands on. I have not been sketching abstracts lately, instead, I’ve been creating sketches of bearded old men. My sketches are small, black and white sketches of interesting old men. They have recently caught on and my collectors seem to really be enjoying collecting them for small, quaint spaces. Also, some collectors are buying an odd number of the small, framed old men and grouping them, which makes for an interesting collection in any home or office.
Franz Kline has a powerful style and a precise attack on the canvas. It is an undeniable strength that he brings to the canvas. His art is a complete thought-provoking process with a powerful, creative outcome. Franz Kline has influenced my work with the way he mastered the use of black and white on the canvas.
So, here is to the magic of the “Black and white man.” Thank you for your inspiration…I am inspired to paint today. Check out my new pieces on the gregcartmell.com homepage.