#BHMonCM: Paint With All The Colors

Continuing with the song lyrics as titles, I guess you can assume what today feature will be. I always admire people’s ability to express themselves through visual art mediums such as watercolor painting, sculpture or acrylic painting. Even combining mediums to create a masterpiece. Today we’ll be looking at 5 painters that create visual treasures by the stroke of their hand.

Black Painters, black history month

Archibald Motley

Archibald Motley, Barbecue

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Barbecue, c. 1934. Oil on canvas, 39 x 44 inches | Image Source: http://nasher.duke.edu/motley/

Archibald Motley, Hot Rhythm

Archibald J. Motley Jr.,  Hot Rhythm, 1961. Oil on canvas, 40 x 48.375 inches | Image Source: http://nasher.duke.edu/motley/

Archibald Motley became one of firsts artist to capture black culture during the 1920s and 1930s. During this particular period, many artist felt the need to depict black people in positive light and worthy of being portrayed in artwork. He was able to take moments in black culture during that time to create visual statements. His most notable work chronicled the vivid black jazz culture in Chicago where he was reared. I’ve always been impressed with his work because it captures the essence and vibrancy of black culture during the Harlem Renaissance, which is my favorite time in history.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat, Untitled 1981

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1981, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 81 × 69 1/4 in | Image Source:  https://www.artsy.net/artist/jean-michel-basquiat

Most of us have heard of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the artist prodigy that used his scribbles to illustrate dichotomies. He often married text and image to create abstract pieces as well as incorporated his Caribbean heritage in his art. He rose to fame through the graffiti duo, SAMO. Soon thereafter, he began touring the world with his art, attracting the attention of Andy Warhol. Eventually the two collaborated on an exhibition. Basquiat also dabbled in music, lending his voice to David Bowie, Rammellzee and K-Rob. I often wonder what his work would look like if he was still alive. I think he would’ve been active visual artist in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Alma Thomas

Alma Thomas, Iris Tulips Jonquils Crocuses

Alma Woodsey Thomas, Iris, Tulips, Jonquils, and Crocuses, 1969 | Image Source: http://bit.ly/211hcUv

Alma Thomas, Eclipse

Alma Thomas, The Eclipse, 1978, acrylic on canvas, 62 x 49 3/4 in. | Image Source: http://s.si.edu/1myRKpL

Forgoing her dream of becoming an architect, Alma Thomas decided to pursue art. She graduated from Howard University, becoming the first fine arts graduate. She was an arts educator for 35 years and once she retired, she began receiving acclaim for her artwork. Known for using vivid color in abstract paintings, her first exhibition was at Howard University, curated by James Porter. She would often drive to the countryside for inspiration for her work. It was then when she became the first black women to have her work exhibited in the Whitney Museum in New York City. In 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama selected two of her paintings to be exhibited in the White House during the Obama presidency. It’s no doubt that her distinct use of color is attractive but her trailblazing spirit is inspiring.


Jennifer Packer

Jennifer Packer, April

Jennifer Packer, April, 2015, 14″ x 24″, oil on canvas. | Image Source: http://bit.ly/242IBI0

Jennifer Packer, Yellow Roses

Jennifer Packer, Yellow Roses, 2013, 10″ x 14″, oil on canvas. | Image Source: http://bit.ly/1Qe4XMg

The only watercolor painter in the list, Jennifer Packer’s skillful technique has landed her exhibits all over the country. One thing I’ve noticed about her work is the focal point of the painting is supported by a object. A person supported by a chair, a flower supported by a vase. Her work is often contradictory due to the use of vibrant colors to depict dark moods. I haven’t seen any exhibitions with her work in 2016 but I would love to catch one exhibits soon.

Gregory Saint Amand

Gregory Saint Amand, The Market

Gregory Saint Amand, The Market, 48” x 48”, Mixed mediums.| Image Source: http://www.iknowgogo.com/#!gallery/cff9

Gregory Saint Amand, The American Fighter

Gregory Saint Amand, The American Fighter, 65” x 64”, Mixed mediums. | Image Source: http://www.iknowgogo.com/#!gallery/cff9

I love how Gregory mixes different mediums to create his amazing work. This Haitian-American (bigups to my Caribbean massive) artist is a creative. He’s not only an artist but also provided creative direction to brands such as BET, New York Times, Delta Airlines. One of the distinctive qualities of Gregory’s work is the homage he pays to his Haitian heritage. He describes his approach to art as layered with each detail adding depth to his art. His work is just awesome and I am a fan.

Incredible work by incredible painters! What do you all think? Awesome, right?

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