Ted Richards was born in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains and now resides in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. A self-taught artist, he has been painting and doing fine art photography for thirty years. His work is inspired by the people and landscapes he encounters on his world travels. But he’s the kind of guy whose artistic interest can also be sparked by bathroom floor tiles or the weave of a basket. Alive with color, light, and vitality, Ted’s art reflects the person he is, the world he sees, and the things that move him deeply.
Color is a physical phenomenon of light – wavelength, luminance, hue, saturation. But color is made meaningful only through individual perception. The receptors in my eye process a color and my mind concludes, “red.” Is the color I see exactly the same as the color you see? This shade of red evokes a constellation of memories and emotions for me. Your own reactions are certainly going to differ.
How a person perceives color in a painting is directly associated with the emotions provoked by the painting. Certain colors will invoke particular emotions. Brightness and saturation will tweak the emotions produced by color. In my works, I use different colors with brightness and saturation control to produce emotions not necessary associated with color. I use these tools to summon a variety of emotions, some of which may conflict with one another. In doing so, I try to step people through a series of feelings while they view a single piece of work.
Color is only one aspect of my paintings. A painting must reach a viewer with two stories: at a distance and up close. When someone first sees one of my paintings, usually from a distance of more than 20 feet, I want an immediate rush of feelings toward the painting. I want to draw the person closer. Once closer they see a new and different view, invoking new emotions. The work must look good and invoke different emotions when viewed from different distances. I want viewers to interact with my paintings with the same range and complexity of relationships they have with a close friend. A painting should not always be intense. Sometimes you just want to say “Hi” and look at it and smile. Other times you become emotionally involved with it in an extended dialogue of distance, color and the unique feelings they summon from within you.
The aspects of color and distance work hand in hand with each other. Each must be used with precise control and in relation to each other. By combining and controlling these aspects I strive to produce work that invokes a variety of emotions amongst a variety of people.