In 1980, on the Greek island of Paros, I made the decision one day to paint a large work on the color yellow. Ten years later, in 1990, I made the first attempt at an approach, but with moderate success. Only another 10 years had to pass before I dared the second attempt. Yellow is a "fear color" in the sense of an extraordinary challenge for me, since there are almost no models for it, no really yellow pictures - neither in the realistic nor abstract area. Even the famous yellow sunflowers are ultimately black-edged yellow areas with green leaves.
Yellow is difficult, complex and that has its reasons: Yellow has the least chiaroscuro and color-tone potential. The pure yellow tones react highly sensitively when mixed, "bitchy" would probably be the more correct expression. The high yellow shades do not forgive the slightest "mistakes" when tinting. Even the most minimal additions of other yellows cause them to react with great hecticness. This means that the painter must remain calm, especially with my detailed painting technique. A mixing error would be noticeable as an optical break in my finely graduated color sequences.
After my first successful steps towards yellow, in April 2003 I made the first draft for the "Symphony in Yellow", my largest work to date: 202 on 750 cm, the total of five picture panels. Just as a musical symphony consists of several, usually three to five different movements. My "Symphony in Yellow" developed from three large movements: earthly, floating, ascending, connected by two small intermezzi. The light color yellow should be perceived almost physically in its concentrated energy, its vivid qualities evoke associations and emotions in the viewer.
During the 21/2 years of work on this piece, each newly completed panel changed my imagination and the further work process. Thus three further drafts were created. In November 2006 I finished the last of the five panels, of course differently than was still intended in the last draft No. 4.
Colors change expression and effect with the enlargement of the picture surfaces very differently. Each of my four drafts has its pictorial correctness, but just for a smaller format. They could not simply be transferred linearly in size. But that was not the only difficulty with the color yellow. For even warm and cold yellows do not behave textbook-like to each other, but contrary. Warm yellows fall to the back, while cold ones step forward.
One of many differences of this color.
I have been able to learn a lot about yellow in the last few years, and it is far from over.
Scharein, December 2005