Maple, Green; 12" x 6", oil on panel, 2010
My family did the annual watching of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. I love Schultz's* use of color and his watercolor night sky. His landscapes fascinate me. There is a stage-like, comic strip, panel-to-panel, left to right movement throughout. The cartoon is thoughtful; the pieces of color make us feel, qualities I strive for in painting. The music, story, and visuals make it something to return to. The annual ritual is not unlike the Swedish tradition of watching The Donald Duck Christmas Show. A friend told me the whole country tunes in on Christmas and many people are severely annoyed if phone calls come during the broadcast.
Relationships between actors, the drama, keep us coming back. I'm totally hooked on the show Mad Men. The psychology of the characters is layered and complex. Fashion is stunning as is the color of Joan Holloway's hair (played by Christina Hendricks). Most of all, the animated intro is absolutely brilliant. The black and white ad man/mad man is flat and absent of color as standard newspaper print. He slowly falls through the metropolis, the opposite of superman, past colored moving billboards, the creations of his mind, like Alice down the hole to Wonderland. Distress is communicated in both. There is a 20th century angst as in the American novel The Great Gatsby.
Charlie Brown is known for struggling with identity and his own painful growing pains, striving to fit in with kid society. Every year we watch him gets rocks for Halloween and conned by Lucy in her fall football false promises. Great design holds it all together. My dots serve this purpose. They are the actors taking their place, bouncing your eye around, intermingling while still their own. The painting is the unifier. The rectangle is the parameter, the screen, the viewfinder for studying them and seeing ourselves.
*[Who knew there is a Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA? It's more appealing to me than Disney Land.]