Art & Design Magazine

From the Art By Cedar Archives: Opposites Attract

By Artbycedar

Back in December, I passed a huge personal milestone. I created my 500th painting!

Well…that is…my 500th painting to be cataloged in my files. I do not know how many works of art I created during my childhood and teen years. Even when I started to become more prolific around age 19-20–around the year 2000—until 2005, I was still in school and was not yet working as a professional artist except for the occasional sale of a painting. I did not yet have a system for photographing or cataloging my artwork. So, I only have a few photographs of my work during those early years.

I know who owns some of the paintings I’ve sold in recent years, but for most of my older work, I have no idea where all that art has ended up–having been sold out of my possession and perhaps re-homed since, so for many pieces, the photos are all I have to remember them by.

While looking through my photos of past artwork, I made the commitment to share some of these special images with you over the course of 2017.

Opposites Attract. 28″ x 22”, Watercolor & Ink on Paper, © 1997 Cedar Lee

This piece is the very first one to make it into my inventory file. Titled “Opposites Attract,” it is painted in watercolors on paper, with the delineations around all the shapes drawn in ink. (Sharpie?) I was 16 years old. I believe I painted this for one of my high school art classes. Shout out to Mrs. Ensley!

You may not recognize this painting as mine if you didn’t know. At the time, I was just a teenager who loved art, still experimenting with materials and methods. I had no idea about what I would end up doing in the long-term, what themes or styles would sink their hooks into my imagination in my future years as an artist. This was an exercise in complementary colors, the use of shape and line.

I don’t remember where I copied these two faces from (most likely, an ad in a magazine) but wherever I found them, the image inspired me to immortalize them. I love that this piece shows an innocent reverence for romantic love through my child eyes. I captured a soft gentleness in the eyes of the woman and the man.

Detail: Opposites Attract. 28″ x 22”, Watercolor & Ink on Paper, © 1997 Cedar Lee

I love how the two people mostly stick to their assigned “warm” and “cool” colors, but in certain spots, they take on some of the other–the lavender-gray with a bit of orange on her forehead, the subtle pops of pink that show up on his cheeks, that one lock of hair in the middle, and his shoulder on the right. Part of the arm she has draped over him on the right has been swallowed by red, and what appears to be his hand at the end of his sleeve is mysteriously blue.

I like to imagine when they end their embrace and move apart, that they each morph back into independent monochrome. Now, as an adult, I still love the symbolism found here.

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