Color Experiments

Hello everybody, we're back with another entry talking about color! Since this is the current module we're studying in my CORE II art class, this has been a recurring theme for at least 3 posts. Color Theory is such an interesting thing to learn about. it's interesting how something most of us take for granted (seeing in color) is such an important thing for our daily lives. In this update I'm going to talk about some of the experiments we've done as a class to better understand and illustrate experiments and color theories that the German artist, Josef Albers, was making work with. Not all of these exercises are based on Albers' theories, in fact only the first one is a direct experimentation on what he discovered. The next exercises do, however, build up from this one in a continuing color study.

Color Relativity

The first experiment is on the Color Relativity theory. How do colors relate to each other? What is their position on the color wheel? How do different hues affect complimentary hues? This theory explains how, when juxtaposed on a secondary colored background, one color can look different than when it stands alone. For example, figure 1.

In this figure, the small middle squares are actually two completely different colors. One is a dark maroon square while the other is pitch black. By slightly changing the "background color" of the yellows surrounding them, both squares appear to be the same hue of brownish black. The only thing influencing this illusion is the shades of the yellow paper juxtaposing both smaller squares.

In figure 2 here, there is a similar experiment:

The difference with this experiment is that the smaller squares are a single color. They are the exact same sheet of colored paper juxtaposed against the same color with a different hue and then another color farther away on the color wheel. The similar hues almost cancel out on the top square, but on the bottom squares the smaller one is rich and saturated due to the different color "background".

This is just one of the experiments we did on color theories, there's many different aspects of color that can change based on what they are juxtaposed against. Understanding how colors react to other colors is important to make artwork, it is also important to understand the properties and meanings of colors themselves.

Color Proportions and Strategies.

Colors are not always just solid, cut and dry. They many times have texture, feeling, and are proportioned in an image or composition in a certain way. Here is a color palettes I made based on how often a color appeared in a composition. This is super easy to do, just open an app like Photoshop or any other with an eyedropper tool and start making swatches of color, just to understand how much of one color dominates a composition.

In this case the dominant colors were blues and purples.

You could also take this a step further and make some collages, just as a physical version of strategizing color. Especially because you can use found materials with different textures, hues and details to make fun compositions that are super dynamic.

These are just a few ways that we've been exploring color in my class and finding ways to interact with them and make them dynamic.

Thanks for coming to my small color blog,

see you next time!

-Gabe <3

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