"African Sunrise" by Diana Madaras
Anyone who has ever spent a significant amount of time creating an artistic work has experienced the desire to give up at some point. Painting isn't like building a model airplane - there is no instruction manual once you've begun a daring new work. Creeping doubts and perceived mistakes, combined with the difficulty inherent in painting, can kill many a creative endeavor before it is completed. However, Diana Madaras finds that quitting in the middle of a painting simply isn't an option - she finishes it no matter what. And here's why...
Great Artists Don't Give Up
You've probably heard the story of Vincent Van Gogh and how he only sold one painting in his lifetime. Clearly, this did not stymie his creativity or work ethic, and he is now one of history's best-known painters. Van Gogh is certainly not alone; there are countless examples of great artists, musicians and leaders who overcame adversity only to create great works for humanity. Adversity comes in many forms, but one of the most difficult to overcome is the adversity one creates for himself/herself.
African Sunrise is an example of a painting Diana wanted to trash, but when she stuck it out and finished the piece, she loved it. After this experience, she vowed to always finish a painting before deciding its ultimate fate.
You'd Be Amazed What a Painting Can Become
The act of giving up usually stems from a combination of mental fatigue, self-doubt and the idea that the concept or execution of the painting wasn't right. Who knows how many potentially great works were left half-finished? Diana says, "The left brain is a really strong critic and makes me want to throw many a painting in the reject drawer, but long ago, I committed to forge on when I forced myself to complete a 'bad' painting and in the end, it became a wonderful piece of art. Some great paintings have resulted when I didn't give up." So if you're in doubt, keep working! You never know what a painting may become.
Color is powerful, and it's not just a matter of opinion. There have been numerous studies done on the effects of color on the human mind (a field called chromodynamics) and many of the principles discovered have been incorporated into our lives without us even knowing it. For example, simply changing the color of an "Act Now!" button from green to red on a sales website resulted in a 21% increase in conversion. Make no mistake - color matters. Although Diana Madaras doesn't choose her colors for the same reasons a marketer does, she still selects them to make the viewer feel a certain way. Here's a look into how that's done.
Varieties of Color & Emotion
Diana Madaras is known as a colorist - she uses color to express emotion. As her paintings often portray images of the vibrantly colored Southwest, it is not surprising that there are such a variety of colors in her work. Take a look at this Southwest painting entitled "Mexican Courtyard." It's important to note that even though there is no "action" occurring in the painting, the colors used - bold oranges and reds with complimentary greens - still manage to convey feelings of excitement and calm simultaneously. This conveyance of two seeming opposite emotions is a hallmark of Madaras' work and is one of the reasons her paintings have such widespread appeal. If a painting's color palette churns up a broad spectrum of emotions, it makes for a painting that will be appreciated for years to come.
Sometimes the colors of nature can hand an artist a great concept for a painting, like this piece entitled "Painted Sky." The idea of something being so vibrant and colorful in real life makes the artist's job quite fun and difficult at the same time. This painting was commissioned from a real photograph, and the use of numerous and varied shades of red, yellow and pink perfectly capture the extravagant sunsets of Southern Arizona. The sunsets here in Tucson are so colorful, it's easy to think that the artist is using too much color when replicating them on canvas. Of course, we who live in the desert know that is not true!
This is just a quick glimpse into the incredible color choices Diana Madaras makes in her artwork...but if you'd like to see more, look no further than her Online Gallery. She also maintains 2 Tucson Art Galleries filled with her beautiful paintings. Come by and visit us sometime to find the perfect Southwestern gift or painting for yourself and a loved one!
Often when I work, I like to listen to the TV. It keeps me company during the very solitary endeavor of painting and distracts my critical left brain. Last week, I "listened" to Wild - the movie starring Reese Witherspoon - about the woman who hiked 1200 miles on the Pacific Coast Trail. I was very taken with the story and often had to stop painting to gaze at the beautiful scenery.
One line from the movie haunts me. It goes something like this, "There is a sunrise and a sunset every day. You can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty."
It is my job to put myself in the way of beauty. I get so busy with the demands of daily life, running the gallery, and working against deadlines, that I forget to stop and be present. I can do better at taking the time to see the beauty around me and more importantly, to appreciate it. So now I sit in my comfortable chair at the edge of the wash every morning at sunrise, even if for 10 minutes, to watch the quail family peck through the rocks for food and the ground squirrels chase each other around their hole home and, once in a while, I spy a coyote or bobcat slinking through the low brush.
Two red cardinals show up almost every morning and dance atop the Palo Verde branches, illuminated by the delicate light at sunrise's peace and grace. I want to show up for the sunrise and the sunset more often...and everything in-between.
Hope to see you soon.