Dusti Bongé color sketch

Each week, See Great Art will share one of Dusti Bongé’s artworks with analysis of the piece from Ligia Römer, PhD, Executive Director at the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation. This week we have a Dusti Bongé color sketch, Winsor Wirebound Sketch Book, page 1, 1980, pastel on paper, 8 ¾” x 6”.

By: Ligia Römer

In the 1980s Dusti Bongé was still filling sketchbooks, much like she did during her early years, and really all throughout her career. As she herself wrote in her 1982 book “Dusti Bongé: the Life of an Artist:” “I usually carry a book for sketching or writing with me wherever I go.”

Sketches and/or studies are an essential part of any artist’s oeuvre. Sketches are typically not created as final works of art but more as thoughts on paper. They are a part of an artist’s daily process of “thinking” about her art, perceptions, emotions, observations. Sketching allows the artist to play with color combinations, varying compositions, different points of view, and any number of media. And the resulting works at times are disappointing, at other times quite satisfying, and occasionally can be positively revelatory.

Likewise, to us admirers or observers of art, looking at sketches reveals a different and more intimate side of the artist. In fact, many curators will show sketches when laying out exhibitions, to give us exactly that glimpse into the artist’s mind.

This abstract sketch would seem one of those that could just as well serve as a completed work. And yet, one can sense the looseness and ease behind it. It is not belabored, it clearly explores a rich array of colors to see how they play off one another. The purple, blue, black, with hints of pink and one orange line feel sort of like a figure against a ground of yellow, bright green and light brown.

This was a trick Dusti liked to use: making dark colors come to the foreground and light colors recede. Certainly, this would make a great painting.

What do you think?

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1 Comment
  • Paul Bonge
    July 27, 2022

    Sorry Ligia or is this the local See Great Art commentator, but I explained this to you once upon a time. In the academic study of art, we are always told the heavier line, the darker line represents the foreground, the boldest of colors comes forward but what Dusti often did as in this piece it to confound that precept and allow the lighter colors to dominate the foreground. In this piece I clearly see the black lines receding and that was her genius, playing on that tension between what we naturally see as the foreground and making us question, which is dominant, the darker or the lighter. Often, she would use discordant colors to create harmony out of disharmony, upending what again we are taught in “art schools” that bright green against orange create discord, yet when Dusti did it those colors sang in perfect harmony together.