My Red Room

oil painting
My Red Room, oil on canvas 18 in. x 24 in., August 2018

I am continuing with the theme of interior rooms. As a starting point, I took a picture of the bay window area in my bedroom. I am focusing on taking an ordinary space and transforming it with color and shape to suggest a sense of light and the cozy, yet ecstatic feeling of being inside and alone. From the picture, I worked generally with the overall shapes, but simplified forms. I am inspired by the graphic-ness of Cubism from the early 1900’s. It interests me how Cubists broke down shapes and dark versus light of what they saw to create very angular, colorful, and striking works of art. However, in my own practice, I prefer more rounded edges to sharp triangular forms, which is evident in my painting.

In terms of color palette, I knew I wanted a slightly-muted cadmium red to play a big role in this painting. I was inspired by Matisse (part of the Fauvism art movement), and how in some of his paintings, he depicts whole walls and floors in a red hue. I like the uniform, enclosed feeling it gives off. Even though red can be an intense color, for me it has a calming, rich, deep/inward effect. In my painting, I contrasted the red wall and floor with the pale pastel colors of my bed to create more dimension to the room. For me, my bed is an inviting, glowing area that pushes forward amidst the dark, steadying walls. The paler colors in the painting help me achieve airiness which is relaxing because the colors provide space to breathe. I added the areas of bright blue in the painting to make it more colorful and exciting.

I am enjoying experimenting with color placement and shapes. A lot of the work in this painting was figuring out where to place colors and how much space to allot to each. I wanted contrast, sense of a three-dimensional space, and suggestion of a cozy and energizing place. I believe I achieved visual balance; hopefully the viewer’s eye roves uninterruptedly across the entire painting. Maybe for my next painting, I want to even more strongly highlight the difference between dark and light. This will make the painting even more graphic.

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