Today on Pablo’s Pablum, with your favorite art-history humorist, Pablo V III
MFA, we will be discussing the subtlety of color and light that are, frankly, overt! For what is light without dark, or red without blue? Or even gray without… grayer, for that matter! The good folks over at Natural Palettes have apparently been asking this question, and answering it with beautiful images and gifs, but they have not factored into their equation the depth and breadth of knowledge that I have earned from my many hard months of community college! Take, for example, the foreboding scene below:
I recall one of my professors–well, actually she was a T.A.–speaking about the psychological effects of color upon the brain, but I hated her navy blue pantsuits so I never listened to her. Perhaps there’s a connection… At any rate, the above image of a beautiful bolt of lightening set amidst a threatening sky is, as we can see, composed primarily of gray and black tones. It’s no coincidence that it evokes feelings of danger and discomfort: gray and black tones were the “it” colors for last winter!
The above image of colored blocks reveals a sense of warmth and familiarity, in no small part due to the chromatic scheme the artist chose to somehow turn into a picture of open country. Truly incredible what CGI is able to recreate from Microsoft Paint these days… Throughout history, we have had a rich variety of shades and hues at our disposal, which have been provided by the very Earth itself. In nearly every way, our rejection of differences based on visual cues has no precedent in nature. Just imagine the drab, mundane existence of a monochromatic world. Or, better yet, see for yourself!
The effect of uniformity upon the senses often creates a feeling of melancholy. Poetic imagery calls upon gray skies, dark clouds, and the like, for a reason! I’m getting depressed just looking at the image above, despite the beautiful juxtaposition of the correlating color palette. The intimation of cool temperatures and damp conditions is perfectly encapsulated by the intermingling of grays and blues… And also the cold, wet landscape pictured.
In contrast, this scene of lava–or is it magma… or fire-blood?–easily elucidates the “how and why” of our associations between color and mood, temperature, and sensation. As terrestrial-bound creatures, we’ve long since learned to trust the greens and browns comprising cheery fields. We yearn for the sky-blues that invoke expansive space. And we certainly expect our passions to burn as red-hot as the deadly vomitus of our planet’s gooey core. There is a deep and intimate connection between the color palette of an artist and the terrain in which they find themselves, which explains Pablo (what a name!) Picasso’s cubist renderings (hint: he was a square).
If there’s one thing to be learned from all this, please find out and tell me. That being said, I believe that we have much to learn from the beautiful scenes comprised of a thousand different, yet perfectly balanced, hues of Hefner. Art imitates life, and then life imitates art, but imitation is the highest form of flattery, they say. I can only surmise that this means there is a mutual respect and admiration between life and art, and I believe these chromatic canvases affirm this truth. I may not be the sharpest colored-pencil in the watercolor set, but I know beauty when I
am see it. Here’s to hoping we all have as colorful and varied an experience as the rolling hills, the stormy skies, and the livid lava!
Pablo V. III
Editor’s note: the views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of Comedy So Serious!