Color Surrounds Us

I have been mixing and painting many little color samples to put on charts, as I work through Judy Coates Perez’s color theory course. The charts are lined up like tiny cardboard quilts. Or small maps leading me to different destinations in the world of color.

Color surrounds us, and we have certain preferences about the colors we see. However, mixing colors in a systematic way has made me more analytical about the way I interact with color. I look at an object, note its color, and immediately begin mixing it in my mind. Intuition can take you far, but being able to analyze and apply knowledge is also a boon. Intuition and analysis do not have to be at odds: they can learn to take turns quite nicely.

Color is a HUGE topic, but probably the uppermost issue becomes that of choosing from a literal universe of color and using it in a personal way in artwork. Are you less than confident about color theory and its application to your art? There is plenty of assistance available. I’ve already mentioned Katherine Tyrell’s excellent Squidoo lens on a previous postKate Smith‘s lens delves into the meaning, symbolism and psychology of color. Among the fascinating facts that Smith dispenses are:

Blue is the overwhelming “favorite color.” Blue is seen as trustworthy, dependable and committed. The color of sky and the ocean, blue is perceived as a constant in our lives.

Orange, a close relative of red, sparks more controversy than any other hue. Fun and flamboyant orange radiates warmth and energy.

Whenever I visit someone, I examine their bookshelves. You can tell quite a bit about a person by the books they have on their shelves. On my next post, I will reveal some of the books on my shelf about color, why I picked them, and a few of the favorite gems I have gleaned from their pages.

This is how we started our color exploration in Judy Coates Perez's course.

Part of our color exploration in Judy Coates Perez' course.

The mysteries of color are accessible to the motivated and interested student. In fact, we remain perpetual students in this area. My liaison with color is like the relationships I have with the significant people in my life: they contain a depth I will never plummet. I am not frustrated by this, but exhilarated. Our connections will retain a freshness, because we appreciate that there is always something new to discover about each other.

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About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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3 Responses to Color Surrounds Us

  1. tammy vitale says:

    ok – this is totally off topic, but what a great idea: ask “What’s on *your* bookshelf” Then I had to run see if I have anything on color – I pretty much stick to the color wheel version of hot/cold, warm/cool that I learned in the mid 70s. And for clay I don’t do a lot of experimenting. I hear you saying all these color swatches and I just don’t know how people have the patience to do that!…nope, not one book on color theory. I know I had a children’s book – mostly because I liked the pictures and transparencies. But I guess Grandson had it.

  2. linda says:

    thanks to tammy, I am here reading and you are so right about knowing a bit (or a lot!) about color theory! I have always thought I could go by my gut instinct but have found in painting, the more I understand about the lesser known qualities of a blue or rose, the better and easier I can get myself out of jams I find myself in, in my work. Thank you for your excellent info…I will be reading for the rest of the week, I have a feeling!! Now off to see what color books I have.

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