In 2017 colorist painter Raimonds Staprans had an extensive and mesmerizing retrospective exhibit at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California. During an interview, Staprans talked primarily about color—the hallmark of his work. I listened, fascinated until an unequivocal comment brought me up short. “The one color I avoid is green. No green!” emphasized Staprans. “Designers will tell you it’s not a likable color. It makes people feel sick. Use orange, blues, grays, reds, yellows—anything but green.” 

I love green—whole swaths of green from quiet, blue tinged, mossy shades to electric, acidic,  teeth tingling, yellowy greens. I love green’s secrets—its underlying connection to red, its silent tendency to embrace black. Green has the ability to be muted and powerfully present all at once. We humans are, overall, environmentally attuned to green and are able to see more green tones than any other color.

I have looked long and hard at Joan Mitchell and Per Kirkeby—painters of deeply felt and fearless greens.  Although I’ve remembered Staprans’s statement, I have never followed his advice, instead continuing to return to green—earth, grass, trees, water and yes, even poison—beautiful, fresh and powerful like a magic potion.

Goat Rodeo

What is it about green?

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Tangled Up In Green

8/2/2021

In 2017 colorist painter Raimonds Staprans had an extensive and mesmerizing retrospective exhibit at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California. During an interview, Staprans talked primarily about color—the hallmark of his work. I listened, fascinated until an unequivocal comment brought me up short. “The one color I avoid is green. No green!” emphasized Staprans. “Designers will tell you it’s not a likable color. It makes people feel sick. Use orange, blues, grays, reds, yellows—anything but green.” 

I love green—whole swaths of green from quiet, blue tinged, mossy shades to electric, acidic,  teeth tingling, yellowy greens. I love green’s secrets—its underlying connection to red, its silent tendency to embrace black. Green has the ability to be muted and powerfully present all at once. We humans are, overall, environmentally attuned to green and are able to see more green tones than any other color.

I have looked long and hard at Joan Mitchell and Per Kirkeby—painters of deeply felt and fearless greens.  Although I’ve remembered Staprans’s statement, I have never followed his advice, instead continuing to return to green—earth, grass, trees, water and yes, even poison—beautiful, fresh and powerful like a magic potion.