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COLOR FIELD PAINTING  is a type of art that became popular in the mid-20th century in New York City - Mark Rothko is undoubtably the most notable Colorfield Artist of the time. This style of art is one part of a bigger art movement called Abstract Expressionism, which also includes more energetic and wild types of painting by artists like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.


Imagine a canvas filled with big blocks or gentle waves of single colors. Sometimes, the artist might use a few colors together, but they're usually not complicated or detailed. The whole point is to see how these big patches of color affect you when you look at them.

Colorfield is different from another style where artists fling and dribble paint all over the canvas, trying to show feelings or tell stories. Instead, color field artists wanted to keep things simple and focus on the quiet power of color itself.


When you look at a color field painting, it's as though the colors are on the same level as the canvas – they don't try to look deep or jump out at you. Artists achieve this by adding many thin layers of paint, giving each color a special kind of depth. And rather than showing you pictures of things like trees or mountains, these paintings are all about how colors can make you feel something deep down, without showing anything real at all. The real magic happens when you see how all the parts of the painting – the colors, the shapes, the background – work together.


In a nutshell, color field painting is about letting color and shape speak to you directly. Large "fields" of color allow you to experience the emotional resonance of color. It invites you to dive into a world of color and feel the emotions that come up, without the distraction of recognizable images or scenes.  - Melissa Erlenbach ©2024

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