Clyfford Still Painting



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Clyfford Still Painting

                This painting by Clyfford Still tells a story. The artist used colour and other artistic devices to make this painting beautiful as it is. Different colours have been used in this painting to make it stand out, and bring out whatever theme the painter was trying to express to his audience. Some of the variety of colours used includes shades of blue, maroon colour, green, yellow, and grey. All these have been used on various elements in the painting. These are important, and are used artistically to give meaning to the painting.

This painting, apart from telling a story, draws mixed emotions. First, it is dull. Looking at this painting might make one to experience feelings of sadness, as the colours used, including the contrast, drive one into a sombre mood. The shades of colour blue used are dull. Blue has been used to paint the sky. This is a dull shade of blue. The sky is an important element in a painting, which easily helps an audience read the mood of the painting, and what the artist had in mind while doing the painting. Apart from blue, the sky has also been painted using maroon colour in some parts. The part of the sky painted using maroon appears like flames in the sky. This therefore, signifies some kind of danger or uncertainty to me, since flames are associated with danger or destruction of some sort. The colours used to paint the sky in this painting therefore, have resulted in the creation of an uncertainty in the painting. There is no sign of liveliness or happiness in this painting. If the sky could have been painted with a bright blue, and then it is a clear sky, this could have drawn a different picture in my mind.

Looking at this painting draws considerable uneasiness in the viewer. There is a house in this painting. However, the full dimension of the house is not shown. Additionally, the location of the house is quite unclear. It is either located in front of a small water body or barren land. The shade of blue used to paint the area in front of the house does not clearly bring out whatever lies in that environment. Again, the house is painted with colour maroon. This appears like colour of blood. It is rare to see a red or maroon house today. Therefore, since the artist painted the house with this type of colour, this becomes an unusual sight. Most likely, he wanted to pass some message about the people living in that house, or the nature of households during the period he painted this painting. I can interpret this scenario by concluding that during the period this painting was done, households were not at peace. In addition to the colour of the house, the house itself seems abandoned, is secluded, and the aspect of homeliness cannot be felt by looking at this house. It is some sort of misery.

A closer look at the painting also shows some machinery. I believe this is some kind of a locomotive. There is a man shown standing at the entrance of the locomotive. This man does not look happy. He seems to be in deep thought, and in his own world. He is shown facing the ground. This I believe shows the state of people during the period this painting was done. It seems most people were not happy, and had many things to think about. In addition to this, the machinery shown in the painting looks quite crude. This could mean that this painting was painted in the early days of industrialization, when people had just discovered a different level of technology. This is because; comparing this machinery to modern day machineries shows a big difference between the two.  Nonetheless, the artist made use of different unique artistic elements to come up with this painting, which seems original. However, whatever the case, this painting does not produce a “feel good” view. It shows some kind of a misery and uncertainty.


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