We will read Ablaze with Color: The Story of Painter Alma Thomas and create a picture inspired by Alma Thomas' art.
Alma Thomas: During the 1960s Alma Thomas emerged as an exuberant colorist, abstracting shapes and patterns from the trees and flowers around her. Her new palette and technique—considerably lighter and looser than in her earlier representational works and dark abstractions—reflected her long study of color theory and the watercolor medium.
Red Sunset, Old Pond Concerto [SAAM, 1977.48.5] emphasizes the intensity of a sunset as it overtakes a landscape, penetrating layers of greenery to strike darkening water. Broken rows of color pats, a hallmark of her mature style, alternate with emphatic vertical bands. Their irregular intervals create a visual rhythm akin to music, while dappled reds, greens, and blue-blacks orchestrate subtle nuances and dramatic contrasts. Thomas frequently talked about "watching the leaves and flowers tossing in the wind as though they were singing and dancing." She also liked to imagine seeing natural forms from a plane. Her lyrical interpretation of a pond at sunset suggests a blending of these two perspectives.
As a black woman artist, Thomas encountered many barriers; she did not, however, turn to racial or feminist issues in her art, believing rather that the creative spirit is independent of race or gender. In Washington, D.C., where she lived and worked after 1921, Thomas became identified with Morris Louis, Gene Davis, and other Color Field painters active in the area since the 1950s. Like them, she explored the power of color and form in luminous, contemplative paintings.
Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum
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