Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Space and colour

Normally, I stay away from poster colours, unless it is finger painting or potato printing that we are doing. Yesterday, however, the kids managed to locate the box of paints that I had taken out of its hiding place while cleaning, and I just had to give in to their demands.

The younger one went quite wild – splashing first one colour, then another on the sheet, not minding at all that the colours were running into each other and making a worse mess than what is on their plates when they eat.
The older one was just the opposite – he asked for one colour at a time, and took his time deciding where to make the rectangle and how much of the rectangle to fill with colour. He stuck to the three primary colours and black, and I was much impressed by the final result.

Abstract though it was, there was a certain balance in the composition. The painting may not have told me a story, but it did communicate with me. It told me of how the painter had carefully used space, and of how every stroke and every colour was carefully planned before being put in.

The painting seemed slightly familiar, but it was only much later that I realized that it reminded me of the works of Piet Mondrian. Mondrian simplified the visual world by breaking colour and form to its most basics.

In his own way, my son had done no different. But I am not sure how long he is going to continue painting such delightfully balanced compositions. When he is old enough to know better, he is going to be taught how to draw and paint so as to replicate photographs on canvas. He will have to learn the entire history of painting, before he will be allowed to take a path that would lead him back to the paintings he is now creating.

The journey is inevitable. I just hope he completes the journey instead of giving up midway as most of us did.
Piet Mondrian, Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow, 1930

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