Know How She Does It

My version of a Rothko


Looking on ways to update my special “ever changing” nook, I decided that it was time to wake up the “sleeping beauty” artist inside of me. I remembered that on an art class I always admired the paintings of Mark Rothko. His colored blocks, of different sizes and hues, brought me a feeling of calmness. I loved that those master pieces always seem so balance even when the blocks were not of the same dimensions.

With idea on hand, I headed over to Michael’s to look for a blank canvas. Originally I wanted a big size one, but must admit that the blank space really intimidated me. So finally decided to take a chance (or a leap of faith) and bought a 22”x28” canvas.

Let’s get ready to colorrrrrrrrr!!!

For this project all you’ll need are:

  • 1 canvas (decide how big you want it to be; I’ll depend greatly on the space you will display your final work)
  • 3 colors (I use some left over wall painting from previews projects)
  • several paint brushes (mine were from cheap watercolors)
  • paper towel
  • old plastic container for water

Analyzing Rothko’s paintings I notice that he paid extra attention to the borders of each block. He diffuses those areas so they can blend nicely with the back color. I tried my best to do the same so the outcome would be similar to Mark’s. 

First I painted the whole canvas of light gray. Then apply yellow to my biggest block and light brown to the smallest. For diffusing the borders I used the paper towel so soften it while the paint was still damp. But also, after painting my fist layer of colors, I tried diluting the paint with water and applied this mixture to the borders only.

In order for my canvas to seem balanced like Rothko’s, I painted the biggest block yellow and the smallest light brown. This last color, because it’s darker, balances with the vast area of the yellow. 

I tried to make my brush strokes noticeable, this added another level of interest to the piece. Also, I used fast and long strokes, this way it won’t end up looking like a crayola painting.

Really this is a matter of trial and error. In art they have a saying that goes sort of like this: “a master piece is never finish”. So if yours is almost done, leave it like that as long as it makes you happy.

I’m planning on displaying my art, but stayed tuned because I’ll show this in my next post. 

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