Motherwell and the Dynamics of Black

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Having finished the watercolor above, I spent some more time this evening reading from the reflections of Robert Motherwell. When I began this  composition with a few sweeping arcs from the lower right corner, I was surprised to see a generic Motherwell composition emerge, black on white. Once I began the actual painting, I immediately grappled with all the varying tones of the trunk, boughs and branches. I did not want this reduced to a silhouette. For Motherwell, black was just as much a color as lemon yellow or vermillion, he often said. As I continued work on this piece, I came to the same conclusion, and became intrigued with all the dynamics of the tree colors (which to most people’s eyes, are not colors at all).

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