Soak in some pure color for “Instant Therapy”
With all the news about uncertain economic conditions flooding our consciousness it might be useful to think about something beyond our day to day material existence. What is it about a work of art that distinguishes it from a pure commodity? When we are touched by a work of art, it has nothing to do with the price. Good art sets the viewer off on an experience, an unknown journey. When your vision is sparked and your intelligence is engaged, time is suspended and you are in the moment!

One powerful way to access the force of art is through color. Most people have strong affinities for a particular group of colors. Perhaps you are drawn toward the earth tones of warm brown umber, yellow ochre or a reddish burnt sienna, somehow you are always pulled toward those hues. Or maybe ultramarine blue, soft cerulean sky blue and pale turquoise give you the sensations you crave. Maybe today you need lavender, deep purple or rose pink to lift your spirits.


I’ve often wondered how our color affinities develop. Do we hunger after colors that we are familiar with rooted in what we were exposed to as children? Maybe your color sense was influenced by your first set of Crayola Crayons? For me it was the large 64 count that held the gorgeous sophisticated shades of periwinkle, cobalt blue, aquamarine and magenta. These are some of colors that I still gravitate toward in my own paintings and that interest me in the works of others. They fascinate me because these colors are combinations of pigments that innately resonate with a particular quality of transparency, vibration, saturation and complexity.

Casey Chalem Anderson “Scarlet Pinks Ablaze”
24 x 36 oil/canvas


Why do some colors hold the emotional, spiritual and psychological tonics that we desire like cravings for sweets or salt? Wassily Kandinsky, the great pioneering Russian abstract artist believed that pure color could free man from his obsession with material things and provide spiritual awakening. Perhaps we need certain colors in our lives at particular times to satisfy intangible needs; something akin to having a yen for a steak, some chocolate, or a salad.

In a painting color plays a complex role. So many factors determine the effect on the viewer, and who knows if we experience exactly the same visual impressions as our neighbors. Certain aspects can be looked for to enhance your intuitive response to a painting.


Consider just how the paint is applied on to the canvas; is it opaque (thick and dense) or translucent (thin and transparent with the canvas underneath reflecting back). A color’s vibrancy will be affected by just how the brushstrokes are applied. Colors that are mixtures (combinations of more than one pigment) are generally less vibrant but have important roles to play to create mood.


Mark Rothko "No. 61 (Rust and Blue)" 1953



Mark Rothko’s paintings radiate with color, the pigments enhanced by the nature of his blurry and softly blended brushstrokes that make the shapes appear to float.


The clear brilliance of the blue in the midsection owes its impact to the contrasting surrounding layers of dark and muted wine color. A viewer can sink into the sensation of twilight advancing.


Henri Matisse - "Interior at Collioure" -
(1905) - oil /canvas



Consider the Henri Matisse painting where the amount of space that the color is contained in, or just how much of the color is used relative to the other colors used in the painting also determines our innate personal reaction.


The jolt of magenta in the right corner adjacent to the bright tangerine of the door is balanced by the cool greens and blues of the left-hand wall. The use of dark green/blue over the window signals that we are inside a room looking out on the shimmering view.

Richard Diebenkorn "Ocean Park 54 "
100" x 81" oil/ canvas 1972


Here in Richard Diebenkorn’s painting the layers of color are built up by alternating opaque paint (achieved with the addition of white) and then overlaid with transparent glazes all bordered within geometric lines. Some colors and therefore sensations can only be achieved by mixing pigments right on the canvas blending and overlaying them.


Keep in mind that viewing images on a flat screen or in a book changes the sensation that you would receive if you were there experiencing the actual painting. Try to get out and have a look at the real thing if at all possible. Not only will you experience the force of the genuine pigments but the impact of the size of the artwork in relation to your body can have an enormous influence on your reaction!


Until next time,


Casey Chalem Anderson is a painter/instructor who resides in the Hamptons on the east end of Long Island, New York.

Please visit my web site to view paintings, prints, info on art workshops:




HPA Southampton NY. Photo, Art and Framing


HPA Southampton NY. Photo, Art and Framing

Hampton Photo, Art and Framing Bridgehampton, New York

Hampton Photo, Art and Framing Bridgehampton, New York

Making Encaustic Medium
I fell in love with encaustic paintings the first time I saw one hanging. There was just something about the work... The luminosity, the transparency, the brilliance. It was unlike anything that I had ever seen before. I knew I had to try it and once I did, I was hooked.
Using Color to Express Your Creativity
Colors have an amazing impact on our lives. From the red of our stop signs and traffic lights, to the ever important green of a dollar bill, color is integrated into every facet of our daily adventures. No where is this more clear, than in our art and in our artistic creativity.
How to make your own oil paints
How to make your own oil paintsOil paints are made basically by mixing cold-pressed Linsed oil with pigment or color until a smooth buttery paint is produced. When the oil paint is used and applied to a surface the oil oxidizes or absorbs air and then forms a solid film that binds the pigment to the surface of the painting.
long island artists artists long island ny long island ny artists artist art arts ny long island art li artists