Masters' Gallery List
Orange and Yellow - 1956
Dialogue by Mark:Text © Kim Solga, KidsArt 1999
Mars is the rust-red planet. The dirt on the planet is so red that when we look at it from our far away Earth, the sunlight on the mountains and valleys of Mars makes it glow like an orange star in the sky. Gigantic dust storms sometimes blow over the Martian landscape, sweeping dirt and dust six miles into the sky and lasting for weeks.
Maybe Mark Rothko had Mars in mind when he painted the picture in today's Masters' Gallery. Rothko is known for paintings called "color fields." His works often have big solid square shapes with soft edges that blend in to one another. This Rothko painting is titled "Orange and Yellow" and was done in 1956.
Rothko was born in Russia, but moved to the United States with his family when he was 10 years old. He grew up in Portland, Oregon, and decided to become an artist when he was a college student. His paintings became more and more abstract through the years, until finally he chose not to show any recognizable objects at all in his pictures. "I favor the simple expression of the complex thought," he wrote in 1947. "I am for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth."
Rothko's strong simple paintings give a feeling of calm and stability. You can experiment with soft edges in the style of Rothko by painting with watercolors on wet paper. Paint areas of bright color on your damp paper, then let the different colors just barely touch each other. The wet paint will run together and blurr in the most amazing fashion!
Thanks to our blurry art historian, Kim Solga at KidsArt, and to the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, for today's Masters' Gallery.
Image courtesy of the Albright Knox Art Gallery
Great web biography at the National Gallery of Art web site
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Contents © KidsArt 1999