anonyrrie: Illustration Friday - Blue

Friday, December 02, 2005

Illustration Friday - Blue

In the darkest part of the night
Blue shadows conjure you
And at the brightest height of the daylight
Sometimes I blink 'cause I think I see you
Dreaming like you do

- Joni Mitchell

Throughout history, color has been used for its ability to evoke emotions and symbolize ideas. Although many of qualities associated with colors vary from culture to culture, some connotations also suggest deeper, archetypical sources. An examination of the history of color can thus yield insight into both cultural identities as well as human psychology.

The color blue is universally associated with the sky and the sea, suggesting heaven, infinity, serenity, wisdom, devotion, loyalty, and openness. Blue has been significant in the religious beliefs of many diverse cultures, often thought to bring peace or to keep evil spirits away. In many cultural mythologies, because blue is associated with sky and water, its symbolism extends to the heavens and of the primeval floods. In both of these cases, blue takes on a meaning of life and re-birth. In dream analysis, depending on the context of the dream, the presence of blue may symbolize either clarity of mind and a spiritual optimism for the future or melancholy. Because color has so much connotative power, artists and writers often go beyond its representational value in order to express and evoke emotions and concepts.

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. - e.e. cummings


Anonymous rebecca said...

Beautiful- reminds me of Art Noveau.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Rick Lovell said...

Lovely piece, and an enlightening history lesson as well. Nicely done!

9:56 AM  
Blogger kg said...

wow. to me, this is something that is a little different from the rest of your work i've seen, and yet still very much has the 'carla' vibe to it. one of my favorites so far. p.s. - the e.e. cummings quote? brilliant!

9:56 AM  
Blogger AG said...

beautiful, i love her face

10:09 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Beautiful, I see why you're a teacher! Every week is a treet!

10:40 AM  
Blogger Rowantree said...

I like two face in one, the delicate palette, and lots of details !

10:42 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Thanks, teach! :) This illustration has a much stronger feeling of individuality than most. Her personality and mood are unmistakable. And the areas where you've left it simple and uncluttered really add strength to the piece. It's lovely.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous kat said...

oh, carla, she's gorgeous! so elegant. i love the leaves around her face.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

That second face is spooking me... is it one person or two...

I love the hair of the one in front and the way the one at the back's hair frames the one at the front.

If its one person she could be the female equivalent of Janus.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Urban Convert said...

This looks pretty different for you, more personal somehow? I don't know. It's very powerful and very beautiful. Thanks for yur comments on my quilts. Most of the fabrics used on the first one are from Japan, readily available in Hawaii (where I then lived) from Kaimuki Dry Goods ( Thanks too for the e.e. cummings quote. It'sone of my favorites.

PS I'd be happy to shoot some close ups. Just drop me an email at

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Natura said...

This is beuatiful, love the mood. :)

12:16 PM  
Anonymous james said...

Lovely and sad. Seems to break form a little for you whereas everything I do seems to say "half empty". :)

Nice exploration.

12:25 PM  
Blogger letile said...


1:31 PM  
Blogger Shano said...

So lovely! One of my favorites.

1:33 PM  
Blogger ValGalArt said...

carla, this is amazing and beautiful! The different facets of ourselves. I love the colours, so muted and lovely! I love that you used Joni Mitchell, she is a friend of my husbands and she gave him a book that you would just love filled with her drawings and lyric/poems. Sometimes I see her in Pacific Palisades and I always secretly get excited because she is a lengend. I sat with her at a dinner party once and she is like a queen and everyone came up and kind of bowed to her!Again more beautiful work from you carla.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Virginia Valle said...

I dont have updates ;) but I will like to tell this is beautiful ;)

2:40 PM  
Blogger Poboi said...

Lovely piece...a real sense of introspection. The text was enlightening and inspiring. Thanks!

3:43 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

You've used some vey nice shades of blue here to create a lovely mood.

3:56 PM  
Blogger frank h said...

sad ... cold ...

Here - only a very nice illustration

For me, blue is a type of light with a wavelenght of 475 nanometers
Nothing more, nothing less

4:29 PM  
Blogger Carlos Rioja said...

As someone has said before, it has the same spirit as Gustav Klimt pictures... I like the most the small lines on the hair and the game of colors down right the face.

4:32 PM  
Blogger bee'nme said...

I've so missed coming by and saying hi, and looking at your lovely work! Always inspiring and instructive, your illustration and text make me smile, make me ponder. Love the cummings quote! And I have to say "bravo" on the mandolin piece from last week - just gorgeous! Love your work Carla - it's always such a joy!

4:42 PM  
Blogger Knitting Painter Woman said...

Challenging draftsmanship.. no? It is a bit spooky for me, too... I'm not sure what to make of the muddied colors and "stuff" in her hair... Maybe my idea of beauty has been Disneyfied. Quelle Horreur!!
Thanks for the ee cummings quote. I'm thinking he wasn't a fundamentalist, you know?

7:48 PM  
Blogger gudbrandsdottir said...

You are very detailed artist Carla, and great the idea of two faces! I like this kind of sad-mood picture though you can´t really tell what the one behind is thinking...

9:37 PM  
Blogger Afterthoughts Ltd. said...

Hi Carla, Beautiful piece. I love the dual images and this particular shade of blue.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Tiffy said...

hey Carla, very beautiful and powerful piece here. I think the color and the mood fits the topic perfectly. Great job!

9:41 PM  
Blogger Tony LaRocca said...

Amazing, how color is just our brain's way of telling our mind what different frequencies of lightwaves are being reflected into our eyeballs! Then we go assigning it an emotion. I love psychology! (Beautiful pic, as always, btw. I like the two faced effect)

10:19 PM  
Blogger Alexa Brett said...


This is so beautiful! I love how expressive your subject is. Your color choices are so perfect. I look at her and I want to know her story. Very nicely done!

10:28 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

Another beautiful drawing Carla.
I love the subtle shade of blue in the foreground figure
It seems to match her mood and the figure behind her
makes her presence known but not over powering.

I especially like the e.e. cummings quote

10:48 PM  
Blogger LDahl said...

Carla this one just took my breath away even before I had fully taken it in. It really stopped me in my tracks! Powerful and thoughtful.

Did you get my email addie?

1:17 AM  
Blogger GoldenOwl said...

Graceful Baby... Graceful!

2:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice.


2:51 AM  
Blogger scott said...

carla this is far and away my favourite since I have been coming by your blog. ( I must admit that's not that long)
how big is the original of this?
I mean I think I know by looking at it but would like to know for sure.
and I hope you don't mind but when ever I see the name of joni mitchel I think of Alan Partridge in 'I'm Alan Partridge' where he plays a national broadcaster trapped in a regional disc jockey's body. Anyhow he closes a song with "and that was Joni Mitchell with 'big yellow taxi' where joni laments that they paved paradise to put up a parking lot, a move which would actually have gone a long way to reducing traffic congestion on the outskirts of paradise, a point which joni with her warped world view singularly fails to point out.
still, nice song though"

love scott

7:51 AM  
Blogger Fancy World said...

Oh this is so beautiful.I love the colors and the the expression is brilliant. (In my very best german - english)
And thanks for your wonderful words on my site :)

9:31 AM  
Blogger Jaimie said...

And I don't know how I missed this! Very beautiful illustration. I love the muted greens and blues.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Bobby Chiu said...

hey another teacher! that's great. I like your illustrations

10:46 AM  
Blogger Alison Ashwell said...

This is very lovely.
Its really fascinating to look at it and see how the faces blend together

btw i hope your students appreciated the poetry . When i was a teenager i had what could only be described as a crush on John Donne LOL

12:01 PM  
Anonymous hartini said...

Beautiful and cleverly drawn - I spotted the 2nd face :)

Interesting write-up on the meanings of blue! Didn't know that in dreams it signifies something. So I'll pay more attention to the colors next time I have a vivid dream. :)

12:22 PM  
Blogger LudaChristian said...

beautiful work... love the details.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Fingers said...

I like the crispness in this painting.
Wonderful work, Carla!

12:34 PM  
Blogger Lily and Lucy White said...

Yes! Definitely yes!
I love the drawings as well as write ups. But drawings are fabulous! Lily.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Liz Jones said...

Looks great! I like the tidbits of history and myth you added to it-- lots of fun to read!

1:26 PM  
Blogger cristosova said...

Reading "Blue" I had to be thinking of Joni Mitchel first thing, too!
A wonderful illustration. I love how it took me moments to realise there is a second woman standing, she is like a dryad nymph, very organic in her attire.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous pintarte said...

Love the idea of the justaposed characters. Can it be a representation of double personality? Or do we all have (at least) two sides?

5:59 PM  
Blogger Amy Zaleski said...

It's ironic, I considered that e.e. cummings quote and then went in a completely different direction. These are great muted blue tones. They go well with the mood you've created. I love how you have meshed the two women together. The woman in the back seems very mysterious....I wonder what her facial expression really is? And the woman facing forward seems lost in her melancholy thoughts. Nice addition to your wonderful collection of women.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I like the 70's feel and the double image. Has a poetic intensity...

8:38 PM  
Blogger Alina Chau said...

This is a gorgeous illo!! Love it!!

9:13 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

This one had me feeling a little homesick for the ocean. And that is good because I am overdue for a visit. This piece reminded me why Halifax, Nova Scotia is such a hub for art. There is someting very special being around all that beautiful blue ocean. It makes you just want to create all the time. You are a wise one. Enjoyed this one very much.

9:16 PM  
Blogger melba said...

I tried posting a comment yesterday, but something was up with Blogger- you only had a few comments then and I come back tonight and there are over 40! That is so cool! I love your blue lady she is so full of emotion and interest. Great work (as usual)

10:24 PM  
Blogger atomicvelvetsigh said...

i also tried to place a comment the other day but something's wrong with blogger's verification thingy. (i even disabled mine) anyway id like to say how wonderful your illo is once again! and combined with the quote of cummings is just perfect..

3:34 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

Very dreamy woman. Beautfully drawn with subtle, elegantt hues.
Really beautiful.

4:15 AM  
Blogger boob said...

Wonderful collection of work you have growing here. Hope you dig the adventures in blogging :)

It's great to see artists persuing what they really love even if it can't always be a part of their day job.

Woah...I suddenly got self-conscience about my grammar because you teach writing :)

Keep postin' the great illos!

5:21 AM  
Blogger constanthing said...

It's a thoughtful piece and quite different from your previous creations, but just as great looking.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Tony Sarrecchia said...

I love the double images. Very thoughtful piece and nice use of subdued colors.

12:04 PM  
Blogger String said...

Beautiful, nice feeling to it and lovely write up too!

1:08 PM  
Blogger vfm4 said...

blue suits you as if it was made for you... must be in your character..

lovely drawing, really lovely...

1:11 PM  
Blogger Christine Lim Simpson said...

This style of yours is something you should continue to use. It's very "you" if you know what I mean. I really like how you elongated her neck and upper torso, and the details of her hair. The colour is perfect for the mood and expression you intended. The marks on her face and the textured background added depth to the masterpieces. Superb job, Carla. This is definitely my favourite piece from you.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Jeope said...

Hi Carla. I love this piece, and the site as a whole. My only wish is that you'd dish on the process more often. I'd love to hear about how this was constructed. Great job, as always.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Jules said...

Beautiful and sad. Hmmm.

In my word a graphic designer blue frequently means corporate. A total juxtaposition of what you have here...could she make it in a corporate world, maybe that's why she's sad!

Beautiful line work as always!

6:16 PM  
Blogger coffee81 said...

What medium do you use in achieving suh beautiful illustrations?

12:37 AM  
Blogger Courtney said...

wow. lovely and surprising, the little details are wonderful, this is a painting i could stare at for hours.

3:32 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

This is so different ( in a good way!) than what I usually see from you. It's elegant and even a little sad. The colors are gorgeous, and I want to peek over her shoulder to see who the other person is! (holy cow-60 comments!)

8:18 AM  
Blogger scribblesk said...

Elegant and moody!

10:43 AM  
Blogger Angela Rockett said...

This is a lovely piece.

I also just love your blog - your "Delight & Inspiration" links are truly that. I could get lost in them all day.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Twisselman said...

Wow! Very nice.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful. I like the colors.

7:47 AM  
Blogger donna said...

I love the mood and technique of this painting. Very nice.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous angelique said...

wonderful lines, and great color choices, with the muted hues. The woman in the front looks deeply contemplative. I love the other face lurking behind the front figure; quite mystical.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Leezy said...

You continue to astound me with your infite knowledge, wisdom and wonder that surrounds you, yur talent and your work! Thank you. Thank you for sharing some color theory. I'm all about education and love the explanation given with your entry. What I find equally cool, is that the blue entry depicts an emotion of deep intense thought with a calming presence. She doesn't look sad to me either. She looks medatitive, almost as if in a trance. Spiritually, I can relate too. this is onderful. the original evokes a different emotion in me, I put that down to colour for sure.
I really love your work, Carla. Journeys coming to you soon!
BTW: How did the printer work out for ya? I am tempted to invest, I see Cost-Co are selling them now.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Suzy said...

Joni Mitchell was on my flight once. That's my big claim to fame.

Love the drawing. That is a really gorgeous color of greenish-blue (turquoise? cobalt blue, peacock blue, turquoise, aquamarine?). Very cool.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Aravis said...

The illo is lovely. I really like your explanation. For me, blue automatically evokes emotion, specifically sadness or depression. To be honest, that's what I see in the lady above, rather than serenity, etc. Perhaps, though, that is my own projection. It's still beautiful though. :0)

1:28 AM  
Blogger Paige Keiser said...

This is just lovely! Nice work Carla!

2:30 PM  

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