Altadena Community Arts Center Women’s History Month Art Exhibition

Altadena Community Arts Center Women's History Month Art Exhibition

“Growing out of a small-town school event in California, Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually in the United States throughout the month of March since 1987( In observance of the month, the Community Arts Center will highlight this important, national observance with an exhibition of outstanding artists from diverse, artistic perspectives, including Linda Arreola, Mika Cho, June Edmonds, Cecilia Miguez, Artis Lane and Janice Willis. An Artists’ Reception on Saturday, March 9th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm opens the event, which continues through March 29th. The event is open to the public.”

You like the new look of

Leaf /

Apart from yours truly, there are three sources to credit for anything you may like about the new look of

  • The Grid System
  • Tomoko Matsushita for suggesting that I use photographic backgrounds (actually I already had this idea but she helped to remind me). The background used, as of this writing, for the home page is from Japan, by the way, not Africa…
  • June Edmonds for finally having the time to lecture me at length about color (the last time we tried to get into something technical was in 2008!). This 2011 talk led directly to me using Adobe’s with some semblance of technique.

My interpretations of June’s color talk…

June teaches me to look for these high-level concepts when approaching color:

  • Start with one ‘base’ color and then look for its compliment (using a tool like Adobe’s
  • Tint variations of the ‘base’ color means white has been added to the “pure” color.
  • Tone variations of the ‘base’ color means black has been added to the “pure” color.
  • Neutrals (grays) are not colors.

Back when I wrote “CSS Biggest-Box, Five-Color Strategy,” I was completely ignorant of this approach—so that stuff has to be abandoned for my ignorance.

My ‘sole’ contribution to the new design…

I don’t want to misrepresent others in case what follows sucks among the accepted pundits. I consciously used transparency effects to ‘replace’ the “need” rounded corners. My assertion is that right-angle corners in Web design are so “boring” and “old-fashioned” is because these hokey corners define solid fills—and it is actually the solid fills that are “boring” and “old-fashioned.” The cure for boring solid fills is transparency effects.

Here are some flippant statements about rounded corners:

My preference for transparency effects does not free me from the problems Web designers have with Microsoft Internet Explorer. I’m using the jQuery Color Plugin to get transparency effects—which is still in beta—and my guess is that this beta status is in part because of Internet Explorer. The relatively timid reaction my question, “IE9 ‘tearing’ background images behind scrolling blocks with background transparency,” suggests this to me.

Winter, intrinsic motivation and the next season…

To me, intrinsic motivation has a near monopoly on my behavior. I can be proud of this because this makes me appear to be the star child of the p-funk thang, “Funk is its own reward.” This can also be tragic because tragedy easily correlates with monopolies. For people who know the funk, we know the next line is, “May I frighten you?”

Embracing this pride of self-starting is frightening as it can be mistaken for selfishness—especially when the one making this mistake is not satisfied with one’s accomplishments. What’s frightening to me is the realization that these people outnumber me and as I get older they threaten to overwhelm me with their non-conscious influence. I can hear them now—and they are saying, “Get to the point!”

“I am you and what I see is me…” not p-funk but Pink Floyd… but I digress…

In the Gregorian 2008, Fawn Chang helps me make my point in “The Power—and Purpose—of Winter”:

There is treasure buried deeply in winter. For thousands of years, humans have used winter to go inside, repair, rest and mend and return to stillness, entering what Feng Shui calls a yin state of rest, reflection and spiritual connection.

But wait: our modern digital world doesn’t stop (unless nature’s efforts shut down the power grid). Everything in our world seems to be on high volume 24/7/365; non-stop activity is pace of life today and it is toxic to career and life fulfillment.


This may be my first clear statement in this Blog post: the power fueling my intrinsic motivation depends on the winter season’s “yin state of rest, reflection and spiritual connection”—the last two or three winters, however, have not been available to me for such retiring/recharging.

Besides apparently blaming other people, what’s my problem? The leading answer is physical and metaphysical debt. Everyone on earth who can spell the word economy knows about our economic-deficit lifestyle—but this debt can be metaphysical as well. This informs the list debt sources that have been chasing me lately:

  • The oppressive feeling of stagnation due to servicing vulgar debt (credit card debt)
  • Not-so-subtle sleep deprivation from noisy neighbors
  • Taxing stress from parking extremely close to neighbors with oversized vehicles on a daily basis
  • The lack of personal quality time owing to excessive commuting (and incredibly high fuel costs)
  • The lack of healthy social recreation owing to family, friends and associates suffering and isolating

Related Links

“Sadly, Another Passing: Varnette P. Honeywood” and other links…

Rasheed Ali: “I met this talented artist when I first moved to Los Angeles in 1982 at a street faire. I bought some of her work because I thought it was so sweetly unique. Her work was unassuming and straight forward. Her use of color was so very African. She will be missed but like all great artist, her work will live forever and a day.”

Flight Into Egypt, by Clementine Hunter”

Flight Into Egypt, by Clementine Hunter, 1955, oil on panel, 12″ x 16″.

“Beautiful New Image of Rare Blue Nebula”

“A new image from a telescope in Chile shows a rare blue-colored nebula.

“50 Stunning Examples of Urban Decay Photography”

“In this post, we have compiled 50 impressive shots of urban decay, each of them emphasizing its damaged, destroyed look.”

“New map of forest heights around the world released by NASA”

Xeni Jardin: “Scientists have released a new kind of map that uses NASA satellite data to show the height of forest canopies around the world. ”

Bryan Wilhite and Color

Farbkreis nach Johannes IttenIt’s time for me to talk about color here in the kinté space for the first time. No, really, this is the first time this self-described Black man is talking about color. Frickin’ eight years ago, I wrote a little ditty called “Adinkra Green” for what I called (before I became aware of the term “Blog”) my ‘design diary.’ But that was not talking about how colors relate to each other (color theory).

I am very grateful to have the likes of June Edmonds to speak to me at length about color theory. She established a firm foundation by stating that she uses the 12 colors of what is called (in European education) “The 12 step Color Wheel” or Farbkreis exclusively. This family of 12 colors descends from the three primary (primal) colors: red, yellow and blue—and, for me, count the number of hours in a day.

Buy this book at!Now for those of you who have read “Behind the Scenes with David Mandessi Diop” you know that I know how to get books out of the library. I am sure you are impressed. It turns out that my library wandering brought out two books about color: The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors and Their Applications to the Arts by M. E. Chevreul and The Art of Color: The Subjective Experience and Objective Rationale of Color by Johannes Itten.

June already has an Itten book and it was not long before I knew that Johannes Itten came from the Bauhaus—and hung out with such Blaue Reiter gang members as Wassily Kandinsky. It goes without saying that the Itten course in color theory has very clean lines. When forced to make it terribly terse, it is the introduction of the twelve colors (which includes a reminder of how the complimentary colors are scientifically derived), followed by the seven contrasts. That’s it (speaking brutally). And it is important that we are reminded that the complimentary colors are from nature itself—and not out of the aesthetic of some flesh man.

Buy this book at!The towering predecessor of Itten is M. E. Chevreul. It is important to regard Chevreul as a “real” scientist—because he was. He basically formed the theoretical framework that the entire impressionist movement stood on. So when you see those dot-matrix-pixel paint daubs of Seurat, think of the theory guiding his brush as coming from Chevreul (even though Seurat is regarded as a Neo-impressionist).

The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors and Their Applications to the Arts has a lengthy introduction and a modern ‘commentary track’ throughout, explaining what the hell this French guy was talking about. The introduction just gushes over this guy. From page 35: “Among the books on color theory, Chevreul’s classic stood virtually alone until the age of Neo-Impressionism when writers like Helmhotz, Blanc, Rood, Sutter, and Henry undertook complex and elaborate dissertations. These newer theorists, however, did not publish until 1867 and after, when Chevreul was in his eighties. Thus Chevreul’s masterpiece was the one and only important text and gospel on color during the Impressionist period.”

Buy this book at!June Edmonds might be telling me that not all visual artists have an explicit, theoretical relationship with color but she also might be telling me that they should. I think I may need to keep listening. I could be listening to the loud voice within me that says all poets should care deeply where the words they use come from—but it is clear that many, many “famous” poets of my generation are very proudly ignorant of etymology. So this loud ostracizing voice may bias me toward echoing that all visual artists should have a color theory—I am not looking for all artists to have the same color theory.

What June left me with is the name Alma Woodsey Thomas. I am told that she had a passionate affair with color that was characterized by its deeply intellectual tint. The Smithsonian adds more drama: “During the 1960s Alma Thomas emerged as an exuberant colorist, abstracting shapes and patterns from the trees and flowers around her. Her new palette and technique—considerably lighter and looser than in her earlier representational works and dark abstractions—reflected her long study of color theory and the watercolor medium.”

To help me learn about color, I’ve started keeping a few notes from the books I’ve pathetically skimmed over so far—so far I have two—count ‘em—two notes from the Chevreul book: one note with the quote I used here and one note about his terminology.