Monday, February 14, 2011

Albers Color Exercises

In class, we played around with the phenomena of color, focusing specifically on Alber's color exercises.

We started with an activities - ordering ourselves based on height, hair color, tenor of voice, to get us focused on the idea of relativity. We discovered that the more we can minimize the variables, the easier it is to do make clear decisions.  (ie: it is easier to create an order from shortest to tallest, than it is to create an order of hair cplor gradations, due to interfering variables like texture, highlights/lack of uniformity of color etc.)

I then related this to the use of the Albers color aid papers. It is hard to create a uniform and repeatable block or sample of color with mixed paint.  The mixing process can create subtle variations or irregularitie within the same 'sample' of color, due to textures created by the paint brush, and areas of not thoroughly mixed colors.  The screenprinted Albers (color aid) papers eliminate these variatons and are uniform in hue/saturation/value throughout the entire sheet.

We experimented with colors to discover how one color can 'push' or 'pull' another color through proximity/influence. We talked about the 'vampire effect' - a more saturated (high chroma) red pulling or sucking the red out of a pink, making the pink appear less reddish, less saturated, etc.

You worked on making one color look like two (1=2), by changing the ground colors behind each one. You then worked on making two colors look like one (2=1), again by changing the ground (or influencing) color.

For homework I am asking you to generate the following (for your own color exercise collection.):

Two examples of 1=2
Two examples of 2=1 using the color aid paper.

One of each of the following:
-contrast of extension (again, this really only works well when you have two samples experimenting with varying amounts of the same colors).
- transparency effect
- vanishing and vibrating boundaries
- personal palette (compose a page with a combination of 10-20 coloraid or found colors that you find harmonious or interesting, compelling...colors and color combinations, in varying degrees that you are drawn to, etc.)

I HIGHLY encourage you to go to the library and take a look at Alber's Interaction of Color in the reference section (both volumes, the plates and the explanatory text). An online site worth visiting is:  The site takes a while to load, so just be patient. 

We briefly looked at journals. For homework, continue the 2 page response. Do not limit yourself with the 2 pages, though. Especially those of you working in little itty bitty books. AND especially those of you that are coming upon some interesting ideas/ways of working. You may need to make some samples/object-based responses. Do what makes sense for you. If you are in need of a prompt, repeat any of the ones from last week and/or use one of these:

1. Fill your 2 pages with images of artists you are inspired by, drawn to, interested in OR
2. Choose one artist/samples of their work and collect/draw/sketch/write what you think their sources of inspiration, studio walls, sketchbook, samples might look like. OR
3. Think of ONE project you have done since coming to MICA, and dedicate 2 pages of your journal considering the '5 directions' leading off from the central, original point. We talked about this last semester, Ie: in one variation of your project, you might create a different context by placing it in a new setting, you might rebuild it, making it twn times as large, you might make multiples....Again, these 5 directions would be based on what information you gathered through the making AND the sharing of the work (taking a step back, seeing through the responses of others, etc.)

BRING your color exercises and your journals to class next week. I will be collecting them and holding on to them for a couple of days.

And since many of you stated that you had not seen the Jen Stark website and films, I am embedding a link to them again here. 

Many of you to my surprise also were not familiar with the work of Andy Goldsworthy, who makes use of color relationships in his work. 

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