Young Oak, 2018/2020, pen and ink over monotype ghost print, image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches
Red can be anything but subtle. If you own a red car it can be considered flashy, or if you see it used in signs it is telling you that danger lies ahead and to use caution. Red is the color of passion, and in February one can see it everywhere in the myriad of merchandise being pushed in stores in the shape of hearts and roses. But a red landscape, how can that be perceived? Will it make the viewer uncomfortable or will it be welcoming?
Untitled No. 4, 2018/2020, pen and ink over monotype ghost print, image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches
When I began working on these drawings the world was changing fast and the future was very uncertain. As I wrote in a previous post, I kept thinking about the color red and it's meaning to the time we are living in. As COVID began to spread all we saw in the news was the map of the world covered in red dots for the areas where the virus had a major effect. The illustrations for the virus itself were the color red, there was no getting away from this color.
Sigue el Camino, 2018/2020, pen and ink over monotype ghost print, image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches
My interest in the color red goes back almost twenty four years though. Back then, as a teenager, I saw it in the paintings of Caravaggio and his Italian Followers in an exhibition bearing that title, in Harford, CT. The cloaks of saints were painted in a beautiful vermilion, intensified by the dramatic dark backgrounds of these Baroque paintings. I incorporated red in my still life paintings of the early 2000s through the use of tomatoes as one of the props. For me the color red has always been beautiful, seductive, and non menacing. As I began to think differently on my approach to landscapes, I thought this would be the perfect time to explore this color.
Arbolado XVIII, 2018/2020, pen and ink over monotype ghost print, image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches
I tend to be very literal about things, and as a creature of habit I lock myself on one idea or perception, usually ones that have been imposed on me by society or history. Landscape painting and drawing should not make sense in red. When we think of landscapes we think of lush greens, or rich earth tones, but never bright red. Only once have I seen a red tree, and that was in a horror movie...not a good thing! But as life was turned upside down for all of us, it was time for me to do the same with my work and explore the unknown. The worse that could happen was I spent some money on some ink, wasted some paper, but in the end it's all a learning experience. I forged on and opened myself to the possibilities of breaking away from tradition, in the end I have been rewarded with a group of drawings that feel true to me, and that my friends is a damn good feeling.