What is the Rothko Theory?

I would love for you to participate by showing your abstract works to see if they emotionally move me.

The Rothko theory, in short, is that even the most simple abstract art can sell for millions because the artist’s emotions are captured in every brush stroke. This might sound far-fetched. Let me explain how I came up with the theory, then maybe you will agree.

I came across a painting by Rothko that was so simple just about anyone could paint it–three rectangles–yet it moved me. I wondered why. How could this move me? I wondered why I was still looking at it. It used two rules of composition, color theory and variation of size. That couldn’t be what kept me staring at this particular painting because I had seen others like it before. Something about this one was different.

This is the painting that moved me

I began to look at more of his works. Any work that moved me emotionally and kept me staring at the painting, I studied. I started to look at all the most basic abstract paintings and studied the ones that moved me. This led me to an idea that I explored with paintings.

The idea is that the emotions of the artist are captured in his/her brushwork. This means even if you copied his/her painting so closely that it would be nearly impossible to tell them apart, the copy would not move someone the same way as the original because the artist copying it is not feeling the same emotions. So in order to really capture the power of the painting, the painter must put the same or very similar emotions into every brush stroke.

I tried painting a Rotkho painting by only copying what I saw and not putting emotions or my soul into every brush stroke. The resulted painting didn’t move me. But when I painted the same painting but focused on putting my soul, my essence, my emotions into every brush stroke, the resulted painting did move me, and not just me but also my wife.

This is how I came up with the Rothko theory. I am still exploring it. Here are a few samples from my Rothko Theory collection. I would love for others to explore the Rothko Theory.


#abstractpainting #rothkotheory


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