Join me....

I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Back to the Drawing Board...literally!

My proposal for this art retreat involved learning more about color.  Yeah, right, in two weeks? Well, I meant that I wanted to further my formal and practical experience regarding color, not get a Masters Degree.  After all, Color is usually what attracts us to art, isn't it? 

There are not many fields these days that DON'T have color studies within them; think about advertising, psychology, interior decor, traffic management, even hospitals and health care fields are beginning to take note of the affect that color has upon us.  So I devised a few exercises for self study with the help of a lot of reading.  I brought several clipped articles with me and two especially good books: The Elements of Color by Johannesburg Itten, and Interaction of Color by Josef Albers.  Both are incredibly complex but offer enough elementals for someone like me.  I am especially drawn to the emotional aspects of color.

I set up my make-shift studio and began playing with the color blue....which is not a primary color but a mix of yellow and green, both primary.  Blue is known to be cool, to recede, and to be calming.  As one author said, it not only moves to the background, it beckons us to follow it there.  On several continuous line drawn faces I used different tones of the same blue and added one or two additional colors.  My goal was to see if I could evoke an emotion through color alone.  It was a lot of work and, like a lot of scientific experiments, I need a few more studies before drawing a conclusion.  I will continue this venture.

Next I took a hint from an article by Jane Jones in Artists Magazine, June 2006, about an exercise on value.  After mixing 8-10 values of a color, ultramarine blue in my case, I would paint the same scene using a different combo of the values and analyze them for preference.

Here is the value study of ultramarine mixed with white (#1) to full strength (#10).

This is one example using just values # 2, 3, 4, and 5.   Not very interesting I think

This is the final part of the exercise which could be done using any or all of the 10 values.  It is a lot more interesting although I found that I chose a rather detailed drawing for the experiment.  Why, oh why not just an apple or a banana?  Live and learn.  I was way too tired after all this to adequately "evaluate the mood or expression" in each! Also a "do-again."

So I am ready to have some fun on the canvas and tackle a few of the local scenes I have photographed.  One thing about self-directed study: you can take a break when you need to!  I'll return to the exercises...I'm fascinated by what there is to learn but someone cautioned me to be ready and willing to throw caution to the wind and throw paint on the canvas in an effort to learn by doing...and that is tomorrow's task!

Colorfully yours in Mexico,
P.s I really would like to provide links for you to access the book information as well as the article but I am working from an iPad and haven't quite figured out how to accomplish that...yet!  And with intermident wi-fi I am dealing with still another challenge.  Be patient with me....and, as always, please feel free to delete the next several installments if this is more than you signed up for.  Hasta la vista.


  1. "The devil is in the details". Looks like you are going to unlock great mysteries of color to me! Truly seems fascinating --- WAY over my area of expertise but fascinating! Can't wait to watch this progression. Wow!

  2. OMG Carol, good eye and brain coordination there! For all the world to know: blue IS a primary color, it is green that is made by mixing yellow with it. Guess my brain is still dealing with how to say bladder infection in Spanish. Good catch, forgive me, I do know better....need some shut eye!

  3. Great post, Cindy.... I'll be reading them all.

    Have a super time.


  4. These look like great excercises Cindy. I wish I were home I would follow along. I will be keeping up though, good posts and thanks.


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