Celebrating Color and Sonia Delaunay

As we approach the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, we naturally do things to celebrate color and lightness. Interplay is a just such a celebration, inspired in part by twentieth-century artist Sonia Delaunay. I’ve been inspired recently by a book (simply titled Sonia Delaunay — edited by Anne Montfort) that accompanied a large exhibition of her work at the Tate Modern.

Vertical monoprint collage globe transformation blues yellow-green orange stained glass cyanotype vintage maps Elizabeth Busey 36 x 24 inch
Interplay. Monoprint collage with cyanotypes, vintage maps and gold leaf, 36 x 24 in, $900 ($1,300 framed)

Where color is the star of the show

Sonia and her husband Robert Delaunay were known for their paintings where color was the star, not just a support. One story says that Sonia’s creation of a colorful quilt blanket for her son inspired her husband to work in patches of hues. Sonia moved from the blanket to create her own paintings, relying on form and color to create movement, sensations and emotions. My global transformation matrix had echoes of her famous painting Prismes electriques (1914), so I decided to create a monoprint collage as an homage to Sonia.

A favorite cyanotype, almost completely used, sits against a bright tangerine monotype.

In her works, Sonia Delaunay does not seem to favor one set of colors over another. In Interplay, I wanted to limit my palette to the blue-greens on one end, and the yellow-greens and tangerines on the other. I just love how the deep blue makes the oranges vibrate, while the yellow-greens provide freshness. See how the oranges look different when they are combined with blue, versus when they are featured by themselves

Bright blues harmonize with the sofa, while touches of tangerine and chartreuse enliven the space.

Sonia Delaunay was not only a painter. Out of both interest and necessity, she took her love of abstracted color and used it in the worlds of theater, clothing design, textiles and tableware. She even designed the exterior of a Matra530A (a 1960s car.) She once said that she did not distinguish between her paintings and her design work. Everything was color, energy, rhythm and light. Thanks Sonia.

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