What I love about painting is color. Brilliant, bright, stark raving color, and for me, painting has always been that dimension.
In 7th grade I took a photography class. We were tasked with working with black & white film. The development and printing for black & white film are simpler than color, the equipment is less expensive. The demands in creating images are to work with shape and tone and composition, and learn the mechanics of exposure. I had a feeling of dismay, a visceral sinking deep in my stomach, at dropping away the medium of color.
It was anathema.
In painting classes, I took solace in the burnt umber shades and tones in under-paintings. At least they had that much soft warm brown, almost sepia, color left. Black and white and greys would have been much harder and harsher…
Black & white film was a huge adjustment, one it took more than the entire class semester to get over. I now love black and white photography.
I love the dropping away of everything but tone and shadow and light and dark. It is the essentials of form. And it has a softness, like seeing in shadows, in the twilight. There’s a nostalgia to it now that was not there in my younger self. I saw the small 3″x4″ photographs of my family and childhood as a primitive graphic representation of a life lived, and I had the arrogant assumption of eternity and timelessness, the embrace of the vivid ethereal color available in color film.
But in painting – God I love color.