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Looking at Fear and related colours

My starting point with sketching was from the photographs I took of a spider as Tom suggested that I look at motifs and imagery, I started with insects which we fear such as spiders, moths, mosquitos.

I started sketching insects which we fear such as spiders, moths, mosquitos.

Watercolour study of insects which can evoke fear such as beetles and moths .

I am not finding any inspiration from the insects, so I looked at a book called The Art of Natural History. It says that the beginning of all art was animal art and remarkably some has survived to the present day embellishing walls and ceiling’s of caves in various parts of Europe, Asia and Africa.

Most of the illustrations are prints either from woodblocks or etchings. Many of the artists whose illustrations were used had never seen the actual animal. Albrecht Durer’s Rhinoceros is an example. This was used as a foundation of most representation until the mid 18th century a good untrue picture.

broadside; print | British Museum

Albrecht Durer’s The Rhinoceros

This book celebrates the beauty of the animal kingdom and zoological literature it is irresistible for its visual attraction and invaluable for the information it presents. It is also a history of print, covering woodcut produced before the beginning of the last quarter of the eighteenth century. To, the term wood engraving, which was produced later, it also covered the discovery of Lithography by Alois Senefelder in the 1790’s.

I find drawing extremely uncomfortable, so I decided to trace some images from a book. I find this process works well as I can transfer a variety of small images and then overlay them to create abstracted images.

I found chapter 4 A comedy of animals fascinating ,I was drawn to this image as I did not recognise it as a crab it reminded me of a skull. The sharp points look like a mosquito which made me think about the “vaccine “which is heralded as the solution to this current pandemic. I personally am an anti vax after a severe reaction to the birth control injection in the past which my doctor told me it could be life threatening. So personally I am afraid in that possibility of being railroaded into being vaccinated.

The world’s 3,000 species of mosquitoes transmit more diseases than any other creature.

What is the colour of fear? Thinking this question through a bit further, black is the true colour of fear. Black is nothingness, the absence of light, evil, uncertainty, oblivion (a black hole), bad luck (black cats), mental illness, etc. Black fears are the kind of fears that linger and insidiously gnaw at you, whereas Red fears are sudden and fleeting.

Red /Blood/ sinister

According to Psychology Today fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death and thus hang back for no good reason slowing our own personal progression. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell. Yet exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them. Fear is essentially an emotion display, long before the development of sophisticated language humans used emotions to communicate and as a social alarm system quite similar to animals. Fear becomes a consequence that’s associated with experiences of the emotion itself often creating more complicated problems of living development. Joy for example may cause shame, love smacks of fear, sex disgusts or excites us while sadness tends to depress us. Research studies show a majority of people quickly associate black in conjunction with the emotional response of fear primarily connecting it with darkness, or say the “pitch dark of night”. Darkness creates unease with our inability to sense or see their surroundings leaving one feeling vulnerable, possibly compromised, threatened, endangered, defenceless and unsafe.

In his book Chromophobia published in 2000, David Batchelor says that in Western culture, colour has often been treated as corrupting, foreign or superficial. Michael Taussig states that the cultural aversion to colour can be traced back a thousand years, with Batchelor stating that it can be traced back to Aristotle’s privileging of line over colour.

Doctor, Ronald M.; Kahn, Ada P.; Adamec, Christine (2009-01-01). The Encyclopedia of Phobias, Fears, and Anxieties, Third Edition. Infobase Publishing. pp. 146–. ISBN9781438120980. Retrieved 10/12/2020

Galt, Rosalind (2011). Pretty: Film and the Decorative Image. Columbia University Press. pp. 44–. ISBN9780231153478. Retrieved10/12/2020

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