The Emotion of Color - Composite Paintings

When I started my floral series in 2017 I pulled out all my references on color theory (and found some new ones) in order to help me create emotion with the use of color. That research led me to a series of abstract paintings inspired strictly by the emotions of the color combinations. 

Anxiety (2) 12”x36”

Anxiety by Melissa Muehleisen, polyester, acrylic and polymer on canvas, 2019

When my daughter was born, I had a lot of motherhood anxiety. I was certain I was the first and only mom that felt so inept and unprepared. I found an old journal entry of mine from those exhausting days and wanted to give that scared girl (me) a hug. These paintings express that feeling of the hot, stirring furor of anxiety in the midst of sweet, soul soothing, unspeakable love.

By exploiting color combinations I found a way to express my emotions without words. For months I was difficult for me to even look at these paintings because the discordancy made me want to weep. 

Serenity 24”x48”

Serenity by Melissa Muehleisen, polyester, acrylic and polymer on canvas, 2019

The same philosophy that led me to the discordant colors of the "Anxiety" diptych helped me to discover the color combination of adjacents used in the painting "Serenity." By using a combination of light blue, green blue and dark blue combined with grey and white, I found a color combination that evokes the calm that I seek. 

As I started to get more comfortable expression emotion through color I wanted to capture some favorite moments. A place that stands out in my mind as one of the most sacred spaces I have ever visited is the Convent of San Marco in Florence, Italy. Each small chamber has a beautifully detailed devotional painting completed by Fra Angelico. His work inspires me with awe. I wanted to capture some of his color combinations on canvas without images to see if I still felt the same peace and reverence by meditating on the colors alone. To date, this is still one of my favorite paintings I have ever completed. 

Fra Angelico 36”x36”

Fra Angelico Composite Painting

Detail Fra Angelico Detail 2 Fra Angelico  Detail 3 Fra Angelico