Every morning, Jane Lincoln wakes up and completes her “color calendar”—a project of her own invention where each day she selects the arrangement of colors from three hues of Sherwin-Williams paint sample cards and creates a collage of inspiration. She hasn’t missed a day since September 2014. “We don’t always have control over what’s happening with our life and our days, and this is a way for me to work in color every single day, even if I can only do this,” she says.
Lincoln describes herself as a “colorist.” She draws inspiration from Josef Albers and his teachings on how different colors interact with one another. “It’s still what drives me—the mystery of color,” she says.
Beyond being passionate about her chosen subject, Lincoln is well educated in all things color. From self-teaching to formal education—including a two-year, low-residency program in Provincetown run through the Massachusetts College of Art and Design—she has dedicated her life to becoming a master in color and to finding different ways to share the things that excite her about this subject. “Everyone relates to color, whether they’re an artist or not. It’s very emotional. Everyone’s going to see my paintings differently,” she says.
Lincoln creates color series, which often respond to one another but are also different on their own. Her most recent undertaking is called “Color Zones,” a series of acrylic painted paper arranged together to create bands of color. Simply changing one’s position or proximity to the piece creates a different color relationship and reveals more subtle interactions between the bands. From cast shadows and iridescent bands to painted edges and strips of digital photography, Lincoln has set out to make her viewers think critically and look closely. “I play around with what happens with your eye,” she explains. To top it all off, she paints the back of each piece with florescent colors, creating tinted shadows that radiate against the wall.
“I let people decide what they want to feel about it. It’s personal,” Lincoln says about her work. She explains that her goal is for her pieces to conjure up emotions or, if not, to create new experiences for viewers. There are limitless possibilities to what she can create, the color relationships she can explore, and the takeaway that viewers can have.
Josef Albers wrote in “Interactions of Color,” a work that has wholly influenced and inspired Lincoln, “In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is—as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.” The ways in which Lincoln brings color to life would almost surely have made Albers proud. “I want people to look at color,” she says in true Albers fashion. “I want them to think about color and look at color and realize that what they’re seeing isn’t necessarily what’s there.”