Ellsworth Kelly is the final color field painter I plan to post about at this time. He is still living so I’ll just give you a quick summary of his life.
Kelly was born in 1923 in New York. As a child he moved a lot. Moving makes it difficult to develop friendships so Kelly was sometimes lonely. To keep him busy his grandmother taught him to bird watch. Kelly was very interested in the birds and he began to study them. John James Audubon’s work, which you may remember reading about, helped Kelly in his study of birds. Watching birds made Kelly sensitive to color and influenced his art later in life.
Another experience that influenced Kelly’s art was his army service. During World War II he spent a lot of time around camouflage. This helped him learn to use shadow in his paintings
When he got out of the army, Kelly moved to Boston where he studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Two years later he continued his art education in Paris.
In 1954 Kelly returned to New York. His art was not accepted right away. It was very different from the other works of art created during the time. Even so, people saw that there was something special about what he was creating. He was among the only artists who used more than one canvas in a single painting. He also used shaped canvas. Kelly even created entire paintings using only one color.
What I really love, and what I wanted to show you today, are Kelly’s colorful, random grid paintings. Some Kelly created by lining up small, square canvases, each painted a different color. Check out this one. For others, like this one, he drew and then colored in the squares.
Tomorrow, I’ll show you how to make your own grid art.
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