Hi Luke — First thing you need to do is stop thinking of yourself as a “painter” specifically. You need to be an “artist”, and if paint is the right medium to make your point, use that - if not, keep other avenues open as well. The other thing you need to do is read voraciously about the most important contemporary art: Start by reading Artforum cover to cover, every month. THere’s a lot you won’t understand, and much art you will hate. But remember, by becoming an artist, you are essentially committing yourself to learning an entirely new language, and immersion is the only way to do that. Remeber, everything you already think art is for and about is guaranteed to be a cliche, almost by definition. You have to move onto new ground.
Best of luck, Blake
Hi Emile-Michel — Sorry to be so slow answering. All those Rothkos are from the collection of the National Gallery of Art, and there is good information on each one that you can search for at: http://www.nga.gov/cgi-bin/tsearch?artistid=1839
I think what you probably saw was a slide that had bad (or different) color reproduction. It’s a notoriously difficult picture to reproduce, and I can’t promise that my version was correct, either!