Editor’s Letter | A World of Color

Focusing on a wide spectrum of vivid hues

By Kristin Hoerth

A Full Table With Blue Chair by Angus.

A Full Table With Blue Chair by Angus.

This story was featured in the July 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art July 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Welcome to The Color Issue. Each painter profiled this month has a distinctive and intriguing color story running through his or her work. We begin with Mejo Okon, who often sets her striking portraits of longhorns and cattle against vibrant backgrounds. Sometimes those backgrounds include skies, clouds, and fields; other times they are simply luscious shades of blue, red, or yellow. Since moving to New Mexico and experiencing its tantalizing light, she says, “I’m eager to go out and just scoop up all those colors.”

Travis Walker treats color in a somewhat more subtle yet equally important way. His paintings of both the natural world and the man-made worlds that surround him in Jackson, WY, are populated by bold, flat planes of color: the stark white wall of a house up against an assertive swath of green hillside, backed by a beautifully and unnaturally pink sky.

Mark Laguë infuses many of his cityscapes with striking hues, from nocturnes dominated by the reflected red of taillights to waterfront scenes suffused with shimmering blues. Experimenting with different hues is important in Laguë’s creative process, he says, and he often lets the emerging color story dictate the direction of a painting. He also admits that he employs color more subjectively than his other tools because it allows him to maintain the realism of the scene while also adding his own way of seeing. “Color is where I can be more expressive than in any other discipline of painting,” he says.

The still-life paintings of Angus are nothing if not expressive, employing colors “as bold and vibrant as a stained-glass window in bright sunlight,” writes Norman Kolpas. “Though certainly based on nature, they feel saturated and heightened to almost the point of hyperreality.” Angus has been inspired by colorists and Fauves like Matisse and Derain, as well as by the bright, contemporary colors of San Francisco Bay Area painters like Richard Diebenkorn.

Finally, Cynthia Rosen employs a kaleidoscope of colors to translate her impressions of the landscape—not just replicating its hues but conveying the “dynamism and ever-changing atmosphere” of the varied places she paints on location. From spring greens and yellows in a lakeside scene to a constellation of reddish browns and purplish reds in a rocky Southwest canyon, Rosen’s colors swirl and mingle in the viewer’s eye to create captivating works of art.

No matter what colors most appeal to you, you’ll find that this month’s artists use them to fascinating effect in their collectible works. I hope you enjoy the vivid results.

This story was featured in the July 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art July 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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