The two paintings I chose to focus on are Abstract Painting, Blue by Ad Reinhardt, and House and Farm on the Allegheny River by William C. Wall.
Abstract Painting, Blue by Ad Reinhardt
The first painting is a very abstract work, consisting of blue blocks in three shades of blue. Though it is simple, I was immediately drawn to this painting when I saw it. One of the three shades is a very bright blue that caught my attention with its glowing quality and depth, while the other two are more subdued, and have almost green and purple hues comparatively.
Words that came to mind when first observing this painting are: structured, clean, deep, tall, balanced, and focused. The brush strokes do not seem to be obvious, and the texture comes instead from the canvas. Though initially the colors of the painting may be described as cool and dark, it instead made me feel energized. This may be due to the contrast between the bright and dull blues, and also because the brighter shade almost seems as though it pushes through the dim ones, starting smaller at the bottom of the painting and charging upward until it overwhelms the top portion of the work. This gave an impression of the brightness and light being drawn upward; rising above the darkness of the duller blues.
After spending some time with the painting, I noticed that in fact the lines between the shades of blue were not as clean and perfect as I first thought. They have their imperfections, and are not completely straight; they only appear so because of the great contrast between the colors. However, this did not diminish the ideas I had formed about the work. I realized that the line between darkness and light is not always clear cut; there are shadows that are a combination of both.
House and Farm on the Allegheny River by William C. Wall