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THREE HATS, 2009, acrylic on panel, 30X30 -Mark Scantling

This one of paintings – you know, troublesome. It shouldn’t be hard. The subject and composition are simple – no problem there. It’s that “color thing”.

It’s that 7% thing.

In the U.S., 7% of males are color blind. I am one of those 7%. Yeah, that makes me a color blind artist. I don’t know the percentage of artists that are color blind, but I know of at least one other who is. He is also, by the way, a Pop artist working in a different medium.

At age 21 I was convinced that I could not be a painter. I put down my brushes, and picked up an assortment of cameras and black & white films for the next 25 years. At age 46 I was convinced I COULD be a painter – with limitations. Pop art allows me to use bold, bright colors – with only as much or little color mixing as I care to do. My wife, or CCO (Chief Color Officer) has always been nearby and willing to share her color sense – though I sometimes reserve the right to forgo her opinion and go with my own unique color sense. And as it turns out, people seem to like bold, bright colors, especially during rough economic times.

For this painting – “3 Hats”, I have stepped away from my silk screens, and have picked up a panel and I am painting at the easel. And this is where I begin wrestling with my “7% Problem”. Painting at the easel is very open to exploration – or “what ifs”. Get the painting going, then step back and look. Add this, subtract that, bake at 350 until done – allow to cool then serve. Being color blind, it, for me  is the subtle colors that I never get to add to “the recipe”. But that is ok – because I AM painting.

For “3 Hats”, I took one of my cowboy hats, made a few quick sketches, found my composition with the rectangles – all SOP. Then – I had to paint. Now – each color has 6 to 10 layers of previous colors underneath. First, second, and third attempts at random color relationships, and I am only now getting to the point where I am satisfied with the color harmony (such that it is – or, isn’t). Tomorrow I will make one more change, tighten up the lines, redo my edges with black gesso, and sign it. It is time to be finished. I have new works to begin, and new opportunities to deal with my 7% problem.

-Mark

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