Paula-Loves-Marla's Blog

Observations about Art, Movies, Books, etc.

The Background – A Strong Foundation is the Basis for a Successful Project

Day 1 of my Marla painting venture – I noticed when viewing “My Kid Could Paint That” that many of Marla’s paintings were based on a fixed background color, meaning that the first color applied to the painting was spread universally across the canvas before other colors were applied. I also remember from my art appreciation class way back in community college that artists typically would start with a base rather than a blank canvas when beginning a project.

That sounds easy enough, but what color should I start with? I love red, but will all the colors I’m planning to use look good on a red background? When toying with the idea of doing this project one of the images I would think about were the lovely kimonos in “Memoirs of a Geisha” – my favorite being the rich turquoise one with red embroidery, sash and collar. Oh, if I could somehow recreate the feeling that those kimonos inspired in me, it would be heaven, but I don’t think I’m ready for red yet.

Perhaps blue would be a good starting point, but which one? I love indigo and think everything goes with blue jeans, but I don’t want my project to feel as casual as a comfortable pair of jeans make me feel. Sky blue seems sort of juvenile and reminds my of my mom’s robin’s egg blue Volkswagen picture in the family album. Purple is nice. I once was involved in a kids painting project (when I was a kid) to decorate an underpass. I tried to convince the director that the sky should be purple. She disagreed, but went off to supervise some of the other kids so I started my purple sky anyway. When I was discovered, it was decided that my sky would be transformed into a purple dragon, so at least I sort of got my way. So no purple either.

The most forgiving color I can think of is black; after all, it does comprise all of the other colors so I’m sure it would be sympathetic to anything I applied to it. Black it is!  and off I go to take my tiny roller (purchased in the paint department at Home Depot and very reasonably priced) and apply my Basics black acrylic with abandon! 

With regards to the hype associated with Marla’s rise to fame and her subsequent fall after the 60 Minutes segment trashed her credibility (based solely on the opinion of one art “expert”), I’d just like to know why we give so much authority to these so-called experts? Think about it – people truly liked Marla’s work enough to buy it and enough for the demand to drive the prices up to above the average for a New York City gallery painting. I understand that part of the driving force behind the price spike was driven by her prodigy status and investors buying her paintings more for an investment than for any true appreciation of her work, but in the beginning, it was just about the art; it was about color and free form and enthusiasm and one little girl who loved to paint.

Do I think her dad talked to her about how to paint? Sure I do. He likes to dabble in paint and people tend to share their passions with their kids – it’s called parenting. We share what we love with our kids and hope they love it too.

Do I give any credence to the opinion of the Art Authority that 60 Minutes used to assess Marla’s paintings and her estimation of Marla’s ability to have created all of the paintings which bear her name? Not even a little. The cult of Marla followers though; the weight of one dried up old stick’s words on national television about Marla’s work rocked their world and the value they had built around her work came tumbling down.

More on this tomorrow. It’s time to paint.


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