What color is it?

Artists use color in a variety of ways.
Representationally- the actual color of the object.
Decoratively- to enhance or interpret a composition.
Emotionally- to express a feeling.
Symbolically-  to express an idea.

As my husband and I sift through our collection of beach plastic the first differentiation is color. 40-some years ago, during our college years, the pedagogic pattern in most art schools, came from the Bauhaus. Johannes Itten (1888-1967) was an instructor at the Bauhaus school and was famous for his treatise on color, The Art of Color. His great question “What color is it?” sparks our reverie as we glean plastic from the beach. What green is it — olive, forest, mantis, teal? What blue — baby, navy, cobalt, ultramarine? Color exists in context and is influenced by what color it is next to. Is it blue-red, orange-yellow, or green-yellow? The question of “What color is it?” is often asked. We answer, “Red, yes, but which red: purple-red, orange-red, light red (Pink).” So we’ve tried to answer the question with this series titled Chromas. The colors are just as we find them. Simple pieces of color put together in a considered way are the basis of how we go about our work. Colors are like musical tones, keys on a keyboard and when placed compositionally together become like a song. For more about our project visit http://beachplastic.com






Joseph Albers in his series Homage to a Square created hundreds of paintings that explored the relationship between colors — what makes something appear to recede? to move forward?

josef-albers-study-for-homage-to-the-square-c-1954  Albers_DownloadedFile

Claude Monet says, “It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.” “When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have before you, a tree, a house, a field or whatever. Merely think here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape, until it gives you own naïve impression of the scene before you.”



Unfortunately, I was unable to find a secure link to the Luscher Color Test site. There are many online tests that claim to be authentic however, there are many that are not. For fear of unleashing a raft of spam, I am not  sending a link.  The book is long out of print. There are used copies for sale on Amazon and eBay.

Names of all of the Crayola colors here.



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