The Art of Color
“Color is life, for a world without color seems dead. As a flame produces light, light produces color. As intonation lends color to the spoken word, color lends spiritually realized sound to a form. “– Johannes Itten
Johannes Itten’s famed book “The Art of Color” was a terrific find at the Westport , CT Library Annual Book Sale. Itten, an educator,painter, and craftsman, spent his whole life studying color theory and its inherent problems as a research scientist. Itten’s color theory described in the “ Art of Color” synthesizes the practical knowledge of a great painter and the experience of a progressive educator.
I really appreciated Itten’s theoretical approach to understanding subjective feelings and objective color principles as described and clarified in numerous color reproductions such as his color circle and the seven color contrasts. As an inveterate educator, he has placed his color theory exercises through-out the book followed by reproductions of paintings by the masters to offer insights into the development of Western painting from the Middle Ages through Picasso and as examples of the artists’ use of color.
According to Itten, the goal of color theory for the creative artist lies in the composition which juxtaposes two or more colors in such as way to create distinct, harmonious and distinctive expression .
As an artist who truly enjoys using a lot of colors, I really found Itten’s book fascinating and a worthwhile resource.
Not only is it helpful with painting but also with my other creative endeavors involving color, such as: selection and placement of plants in my garden so the area pops with expression, and designing and selecting fibers for my needlepoint projects so that the end result will be distinctive. As an imaginative person, I have numerous creative pursuits which nourish my soul. Needlepoint is a life-long passion which I enjoy when traveling, watching TV, sitting in my investment club meetings, or enjoying time with my friends. I take great pleasure in planning the design, but even more pleasure in planning color notes. A friend commissioned me to design, stitch and personalize seat cushions for her two new grandchildren. In their family, each grandchild is given a baby rocker personalized with their name and birthday. What an honor to be part of such a longstanding tradition! For her grandson, I designed a little boy fishing, a family favorite, and for the grand-daughter I designed a little girl reading and surrounded by books, another favorite family past-time.
One of my favorite passages from Robert Henri in “ The Art Spirit”
“In my understanding of color, there is absolutely no such thing as color for color’s sake. Colors are beautiful when they are significant. Lines are beautiful when they are significant. It is what they signify that is so beautiful to us, really. The color is the means of expression. The reason that a certain color in life, like the red in a young girl’s cheek, is beautiful, is that it manifests youth, health; in another sense, that it manifests her sensibility.” – Robert Henri
Opening Night on June 6th, was a huge hit with over 150 people in attendance viewing the works of about 40 artists while we all enjoyed great conversation,delicious food catered by Dream Weavers, and wine and beer donated by a generous sponsor.
Carmen, owner of Carmen’s Gallery in Solomon’s Island, thoughtfully curated the show, for each piece of art was perfectly displayed. It was such a treat to talk with artists from all over MD, PA and VA.
Calvert Nature Society is hosting a juried regional art exhibit, inspired by the world of Southern Maryland, at the Flag Pond Nature Park in Lusby,MD, a member of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network. On Saturday, I dropped off my selected work called ” Grape Harvest” for Executive Director, Anne Sundermann, and her team to install. Further details may be found at: www.calvertparks.org/artcade.html
After you enter the park, the first building you come to is the Nature Education Center where over 40 professional artists will showcase their creativity for the month of June. Flag Pond is home to many different birds and animals, including egrets, terrapins, coyote and turkey. Outside the buildings, there are several trails to investigate, each with their own ecosystem- woods, cliffs, swamp and beach. Millions of years ago, sharks, whales, crocodiles , mastodons and seals inhabited the waters and shores of Calvert County. Today, the sharp-eyed visitor may still find sharks teeth and other Miocene fossils along the park’s shoreline. If you plan to visit the art exhibit, allow time to enjoy the beautiful trails and vistas, for beachcombing, birdwatching, or a relaxing day with nature.
Nature’s ARTcade opens Saturday June 6, 2015 at 7 pm
Exhibit hours: Friday, Saturday and Sundays in June, noon – 3 pm
Flags Pond Nature Park
1525 Flag Ponds Parkway
Thinking about Gloucester, MA , the oldest working harbor in the United States, and the Rocky Neck Art Colony 1850-1950. Some of the most influential artists of our time painted the rugged topography, the hard-working fisherman, and the fishing or whaling fleets; including Fitz Hugh Lane, Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, and Charles Gruppe. Traveling the Annisquam River to Gloucester Harbor makes one appreciate the vital influence Rocky Neck Art Colony had on art history.
I painted ” Dink”, “Orange Tangled Bouys”, and “Rounding Ten Pound Island” after a visit to Annisquam.
I was inspired to paint ” Grape Harvest” after visiting a winery and picking grapes! I loved the myriad of colors and graceful light reflections on the grape leaves. Veraison is the wine term describing the transition from berry growth, to the onset of grape ripening, to the changing colors of the grape berries. Many changes in berry development occur at veraison. I particularly loved painting the different colors of the grapes and their shadows against the dark or light grape leaves so that the grapes just popped!
“Rabbit”, an 8″ x 10″ commission , was a surprise gift for a newly renovated kitchen.
I think the ” ears” have it this time of year! Including my furry dog friends. My paintings below depict long ears-” Two Heads are Better than One”, ” All Ears”, ” Leader of the Pack”. I sure miss our Brittany Spaniel, Spencer who loved car rides! Now that he has been gone for about three months, I think it is time to think about another dog who loves the water, is intelligent and fun!
If you have a chance to plan a visit to Portland, OR, please treat yourself and schedule an appointment to visit Gamblin Artist Colors located at 323 SE Division Street for a private tour. Last fall, while visiting my daughter, we took the tour and it was absolutely incredible watching how Gamblin paints are made from raw materials, processing,quality control to packaging. Loved the Wall of Color installation in the foyer – each square represents one of the available Gamblin colors. Gamblin was founded by artists and works with artists around the world. They work hard to make high quality products that will allow artists to produce the best possible paintings.
Check out this Fine Arts interview with Gamblin CEO Robert Gamblin
At the end of January, I started on another commission for a friend who envisioned a beach scene above her mantle in the family room. After a few meetings , concept drawings, and measurements , she decided upon a family favorite destination- Eleuthra. It was a pure delight painting the beautiful pink sands, turquoise surf and fluffy white clouds when the outside thermometer was in the single digits! Here is the progression of the painting. From rough start to nearly finishing Amy’s vision , the 2′ x 3′ canvas takes shape with each additional paint layer. Each step of the way, Amy provided invaluable input from the sand color, people location, and dune grasses. After her approval, we picked out a frame to her liking. Painting is now at photographers and will be framed sometime over the next week. Stay tned for the finished result.