Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Focus and an Attention-Fix, Part 2: Black Lines and Color

 Bashful Little Q (detail). Acrylic on paper.

I've wanted to focus more on color--especially exploring systems that are quick and effective to use.  Last summer, I bought the book, Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter, by James Gurney. Within it (and within his blog), Gurney introduces his Yurmby color wheel/Gamut mask system. I'm a slow study, but finally sorta got it and recently painted a wheel of my own.
(*Seems that this system would be ideal for the "realist" approach to verisimilitude in a painting. Not sure yet how it will affect my work though.)

Still, I want to know this stuff. My wheel's done with sign-paint--the paint I use most often.
Did I do the wheel correctly or accurately? I lost concentration, patience, and some value control; so probably not. Still, not being much for perfection in things like this, it'll do for me.

Gurney uses it to find and easily limit the color range. Check out his book, or his blog  http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2010/02/color-wheel-part-7.html  for the details.
(It really is a great blog--Gurney has a startling (but fascinating) scientific approach to art.)

While I read the book, blog, and fussed with the wheel, I also hit the exhibit, Becoming van Gogh, at the Denver Art Museum. While Gurney's color system is hard on my brain, the van Gogh exhibit resulted in complete and perfect euphoria. The best exhibit I've ever experienced, it left me full of questions; quite a few about color, lots about van Gogh's use of color.

Landscape Under a Stormy Sky (detail), by Vincent van Gogh

(*Bernard wrote that van Gogh was "searching for a style freed from any realistic imitation", and the exhibit catalog contains this statement: "van Gogh understood full well that verisimilitude had had its day." This interests me greatly.)

So the focus, or point of all this?
 I want to study the color use of favorite artists (who use black and color) like van Gogh, and see if Gurney's color gamut system makes sense within those contexts.
Will the system work for uses other than realism and verisimilitude?
Will it prove an efficient aid in color selection?
Will the system enhance the effectiveness of color?
I assume the answer will be yes to all, but looking forward to finding out. Also most interested in your ideas.
(More artists next post.)

Thanks, as always, for reading!


  1. I'm just starting to understand color so thanks for this post. I also like that you are so attached to line and black, I love how a good outline makes art vivid -- it's kind of like how I see things and I often miss lines when they aren't there emphasizing form. Thanks for the links and, as always, your art. I like your colorwheel -- everyone I do comes out different. Color is alive.

    1. I appreciate your comment, Joy. Glad you are finding the links of interest. I'm lately intrigued by the variety of reasons that artists study color. A lot of their systems baffle me, but it's all pretty fascinating.

  2. Yesterday my husband saw an episode of Dr. Who and this time van Gogh was a part of it. I just passed it and watched it for a while since this great painter was a part of it. So while wathching it it came to me that his way of using the colors reminded me about your way of using colors. So, when I then came to visit you today I had to laugh. You're talking about colors and van Gogh. I like you both:)

    1. Hi Line, thanks for stopping by! van Gogh will always be a favorite inspiration--he used black with color and always kept searching. I will keep searching as well, and am glad to know you like my work. Best wishes to you!

  3. I love your current choice of colors and how you use layers; I'm curious to see if your work takes a turn.

    Thank you for your nice compliments on my blog.

    1. Thanks for your comment--I'm curious about the turn, too. The work changes always, but this amount of concentration is a bit new for me.

      And I love your blog.


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