Today I tried to replicate what I did yesterday, only with complimentary colors. My thinking was that the Dirty Blond image was iconic enough to stand replication, in the same way as the same forms in Alexej Jawlensky’s portraits in his Variation and Meditation series, were repeated.
Here is my variation of Dirty Blond:
For comparison, here is the original:
I used Photoshop to create two more versions of Dirty Blond, making use of the original and today’s copy, rendered in its complementary colors. If I overlaid my ‘negative’ portrait (painted with the true complementary colors of the original), the result would be a uniform gray. The color complements would cancel each other out. Below are two of my Photoshop overlays.
I placed the Dirty Blond image on a layer atop the negative image and chose a ‘filter’ that dictated the interactions of the layers.
I’m not sure what Jawlensky would say about these automatic variations. The idea to paint the same portrait in complementary colors is a rather simple one. I wonder what other decision-making processes could be brought to bear for other color schemes. Kandinsky, who had a theory about spiritual meanings of colors, would have probably been able to think of rationales for color variations in different versions of the same portrait.
The answer is probably not in any kind of one-to-one translation of colors to meaning. An artist would get a feeling about the mood or state of mine s/he wanted to portray and choose colors accordingly.