TASK: Make a drawing of a bowl of fruit using either colour pencils, pastels or paints.
You are at the stage to begin experimenting with your colours when producing art work in colour. Part 1 of this task was to learn some colour theory and produce a colour wheel to aid your use of colour in future artworks. We can now put that theory to use 🙂
Begin by practicing blending together different colours. Not just those created on the colour wheel but other combinations of those hues to see what is possible. Mix from light to dark a range of hues- so for this the obvious would be adding black for shade and white for the tints. But there are so many other ways. See what effects you can get by mixing the complementary colours together. Using black for the shadows on a red apple would create a different overall effect than if you mix green into the red to create the shadows instead. It is worth the time spent doing different variations to see what effect you would like.
Look at the key terms below to help you with your experiments:
Hue: the actual colour of an object
Chroma: the purity of a hue in relation to grey. When there is no shade of grey in a colour that colour has a high chroma. Adding shades of grey to a hue reduces the chroma
Saturation: the degree of purity of a hue. Similar to chroma- pure hues are highly saturated-when grey is added the colour becomes desaturated
Intensity: the brightness or dullness of a colour. Adding white or black to a colour lowers it’s intensity. An intense and highly saturated colour has a high chroma
Value/Luminance: a measure of the amount of light reflected from a colour- ie how light or dark a hue is. Adding white to a hue makes it lighter and increases its value or luminance
Shade: the result of adding black to a hue to produce a darker hue
Tint: the result of adding white to a hue to produce a lighter hue
Tone: in between black and white we have grey. A colour tone is the result of adding grey to a hue. Shades and tints are tones at the extremes
Make notes next to the different and interesting effects you create through your experiments.
Fruit has lots of different colour changes and textures. You should use some of your experiments from the colour wheel in your drawing to show an understanding of colour theory.
When I have found the relationship of all the tones the result must be a living harmony of all the tones, a harmony not unlike that of a music composition
Now you have more understanding of colour theory you can apply this to not only creating tonal ranges in your work, but also consider your compositions. Which fruits will you use? How will you position them together?
You can look at how the early twentieth-century group of artists called the Fauves used complementary colours in their work for example. Matisse’s second version of his painting The Dance of 1910, and Music of the same year, demonstrate how the painter used complementary colours next to one another which enhance and vibrate against each other.
Matisse and Derain, two of the Fauve painters, made pictures using vivid palettes of primary and secondary colours. The impressionists used complementary colours to great effect, in their landscapes in particular; when you next look at Impressionist landscapes consider how the yellows and purples, and the other complementary pairs, work together.
When white is mixed in we begin to see how wonderfully subtle and exciting a palette can become- think of the beautiful paintings of Gwen John and Morandi, created using a harmonious and rich variety of greys.
Gwen John The Artist in Her Room in Paris, 1907–09Morandi ‘Natura Morta (Still Life)’, 1960
Morandi deliberately limited his choice of still life objects to the unremarkable bottles, boxes, jars, jugs and vases that were commonly found in his everyday domestic environment. He would then ‘depersonalise’ these objects by removing their labels and painting them with a flat matt colour to eliminate any lettering or reflections. In this condition they provided him with an anonymous cast of ready-made forms that he could arrange and rearrange to explore their abstract qualities and relationships.
Morandi’s compositions and choice of still life objects allude to his Italian heritage. When assembled together in a still life group, his dusty bottles and boxes take on an monumental quality that evokes the architecture of medieval Italy – a style with which he seems at ease.
Think about your composition and the final effects, whilst also experimenting with your media and use of colours 🙂
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