Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why Purple?

TEN YEARS ago I was asked to paint a mural with the 200 students of TRUS here in Three Rivers, CA – part of a curriculum of artists volunteer teaching. To come up with a process that would work with kids ranging from K-8 grade, I played around with bright backgrounds and bold line. I liked orange the best. The kids filled in the spaces, leaving orange showing next to every line- it gave it a stained glass effect- the colors popped. And when finished the mural was clean and beautiful There are now 4 in town.

I LOVED doing it so much I continued using orange ground color and lines on my canvases , and I paint that way still.

SEVERAL YEARS ago I was asked to paint 16 murals in 2 months for Tulare County Welfare – what became known as my 1st "Marathon Murals" project. My assistant Fabi Belman and I painted the visitation rooms for foster children in 5 towns. We did all but one with the orange ground color.

WHEN WE got to the last one in Dinuba, we were told that the rooms were for mothers visiting with their babies who were born addicted to drugs. We agreed that orange might be too harsh for their little eyes. I experimented with lots of colors and purple worked wonderfully- especially with all the green of the forest. It still had a stain glass (or woodcut) effect, with less vibration.

TODAY I still use those 2 colors. I've tried other colors – some work, some are awful! Every painting is different and I decide before starting which color I think will work the best. I find it interesting that I almost always pick purple for dog portraits.


  1. Thank you, Nadi! That was really interesting :-) Leah Launey

  2. Wonderful Answer! Thank you for sharing it ~ kc